Energy Efficient Kitchens – Checklist


How energy efficient is your kitchen and the appliances that it uses? The kitchen is quite the powerhouse of energy consumption with most of your major every day appliances located within one spot. If you’re thinking about renovating your kitchen to make it more energy efficient and green here are a few items to add to discuss with your builder.

The Refrigerator

Image: theearthproject.com

Your fridge can draw a lot of power and fridges 10 years or older are costing you more money than a new fridge would cost you. The first step you want to do is see if your fridge is labeled with an “ENERGY RATING” sticker.  Appliances with energy ratings typically use less than 50% power compared to their older counterparts.

You will also want to ensure the seals around the fridge are not damaged or weathered in any way. A damaged seal means your fridge isn’t cooling properly and it will work overtime to try and keep the correct temperature inside the unit. New energy friendly fridges come with an audible or visual warning indicator to let you know that the appliance is drawing more than it normally does and that something is wrong with a seal or filter.

The Stove/Oven

Operating costs of ranges can vary and since no federal regulation exists for this type of appliance they won’t carry an ENERGY RATING label.  So you have to take into consideration the type of heating source used such as electric and gas.

An electric range usually cost more to buy but cost less to operate whereas gas ranges will be cheaper to buy but cost more to operate. For energy efficiency, you’re going to have more savings with an electric range as they are better insulated which helps prevent heat from escaping easily.

There are two main types of electric ovens such as the conventional oven which cooks food by surrounding it with heat and the conventional oven that uses a fan to evenly distribute the heat. The more efficient of the two is the conventional oven because it promotes a more even and rapid heating of the food.

The Dishwasher

A dishwasher with an ENERGY RATING will draw less power and consume a smaller amount of water over your standard dishwasher from a couple of years ago.

If the appliance pulls too much power and uses more water than necessary to clean the dishes it essentially doubles your utility bill. A good dishwasher should have intact seals, conserve water, and only draw the necessary power needed to complete the cleaning operation and will automatically turn itself off once the cleaning cycle is complete.

The Microwave / Microwave Oven

Currently, no ENERGY RATING exists for this appliance. Similar to the stove the operating expense versus the purchasing expense are comparable. A 900-watt microwave will be cheaper to buy but will cost more money to operate due to the longer cooking time needed. Whereas a microwave running at 1100 watts will be more expensive to buy but is likely to cost less to operate since the cooking time is shortened.

In short ensuring your kitchen has updated appliances that carry the ENERGY RATING is the best method of making your kitchen more energy efficient.

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