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October 8, 2009

10 Ways to Conserve Energy in the Kitchen

The little things we do will have significant effects on CO2 emmissions - the leading cause of the "greenhouse effect" known as global warming.  You can choose to do all within this list or some.  But make sure you do at least one.  And remember, the more you do the greater the effect.  Also, spread the word.  The more the merrier... and the healthier the planet. 


1.  Turn your refrigerator down.  Refrigerators account for about 20% of household electricity use.  Use a thermometer to set your refrigerator temperature as close to 37 degrees F (3 degrees C) and your freezer as close to 3 degrees F (-16 degrees C) as possible.  Make sure that its energy saver switch is turned on. 

2.  Check the gaskets around your refrigerator/freezer doors to make sure they are clean and sealed tightly. 

3.  Fill any unused space in the fridge with bottles of water.  Every time you open your fridge's door, cold air escapes, warm air rushes in, and as a consequence, energy will be needed to re-cool the air in the fridge.  This is wasteful.  Keeping your fridge well stocked is one simple way to prevent this.  Using bottles of water will serve in two ways:
  1. They reduce the volume of air needing re-cooling.
  2. They cool the air after the door closes.
4.  Move your fridge and freezer if necessary.  Placing them next to the cooker or boiler consumes much more energy than if they were standing on their own.  For example, if you put them in a hot cellar room where the room temperature is 85-95 degrees F (30-35 degrees C), energy use is almost double and causes an extra 352 pounds (160kg) of CO2 emissions for fridges per year and 704 pounds (320kg) for freezers.

5.  Defrost old fridges and freezers regularly.  Even better is to replace them with newer models, which all have automatic defrost cycles and are generally up to two times more energy-efficient than their predecessors. 

6.  Make sure your dishwasher is full when you run it. 

7.  Use the energy saving setting on your dishwasher, if available, to allow the dishes to air dry.  You can also turn off the drying cycle manually.  Not using heat in the drying cycle can save 20% of your dishwasher's total electricity use. 

8.  There is no need to set the temperature high on your dishwasher.  Nowadays detergents are so efficient that they get your dishes clean at low temperatures. 

9.  Cover your pots while cooking.  Doing so can save a lot of the energy needed for preparing the dish.  Even better are pressure cookers and steamers:  they can save around 70%!

10.  Select the most energy-efficient models when you replace your old appliances.  Look for the Energy Star Label - your assurance that the product saves energy and prevents pollution.  Buy the product that is sized to your typical needs - not the bigest one available.  Replacing a typical 1973 refrigerator with a new energy-efficient model, saves 1.4 tons of CO2 per year.   

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