If you’re not careful, your kitchen can be a big energy waster. Follow these simple energy saving ideas to cut down your energy bills and lower your carbon footprint.
1. Be Smart With Your Cooking
Making a few changes to the way you cook can save a lot of energy (and money!) For example, if you always cover pots and pans they will boil much quicker — or even better, boil the water in the kettle first then pour it into the pan, as this uses less energy. Are you putting more water in the pan than you really need when you boil food? If so it not only takes more time and energy to boil, but you’re wasting water as well.
Another good tip is to turn off the heat a couple of minutes before your food is cooked. This is especially true if you have an electric cooker — electric hobs take quite some time to cool down. You can turn off your electric oven about ten minutes before your food has finished cooking and it will still stay hot.
If you’ve boiled water, can it be used for more than one purpose? For instance, if you are cooking pasta in a pan, put a colander on top and you have a make-shift steamer to cook your veg in!
2. Be Good To Your Fridge
Putting hot food straight into the fridge is a big no-no! The fridge has to work extra hard and draw more energy to cool it down. Let hot food cool on the side first before it goes in. The same goes for the freezer. Avoid leaving the fridge or freezer door open for long periods, and defrost it when necessary. Finally, make sure there is at least a 10cm gap behind your fridge — this lets heat flow away more easily and saves electricity.
3. Smart Washing and Drying
Your washing machine and tumble dryer are two of the most power hungry appliances in the house. Make sure the washing machine is full before you switch it on, or use the half load setting if it has one. As for the dryer — do you really need to use it? Putting your clothes out on the line instead is a really simple way to save electricity, and your clothes will last longer too!
You may be surprised to know that about 85-90% of the energy used by a washing goes into heating the water, so don’t put it on a hot wash unless you really need to. If your clothes aren’t particularly dirty then washing them at 30 degrees is just as effective as washing at a higher temperature. By switching from a hot wash to a warm wash, over a year you could cut your energy consumption in half!
4. Fix Dripping Taps
It may not seem like a big deal, but a badly dripping tap can waste as much as one litre of water per hour — that’s enough to fill a bath in a week! And remember if it’s hot water you’re wasting energy as well. So stop ignoring it and get it fixed!
5. Doing The Dishes
According to some studies, a modern dishwasher uses less water than washing your dishes by hand. If you do use a dishwasher, open up the door after the wash cycle and let the hot dishes air-dry. This will save a considerable amount of electricity.
6. Clean The Oven Door
Every time you open the oven door, you are letting out precious hot air and wasting energy. If the oven door is clean and you can actually see through it, then you don’t need to keep opening it to check on your food. It’s a dirty job, but it’s worth doing!
7. Don’t Over-fill The Kettle
This one is a huge energy waster — the energy wasted boiling an over-filled kettle in one week could power a TV for a whole day! It is thought that most people use double the amount of water they really need. Boiling more water than you need uses more electricity, only for the extra water too cool down and have to be boiled again later. Try using a cup to measure out exactly what you need, adding a little extra to allow for evaporation.
8. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
Not all kitchen appliances are created equal. If your cooker, fridge or freezer hasn’t been updated for a while then you could be wasting a considerable amount of energy. When the time comes to buy a new appliance, take a look at its energy rating and look out for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended sticker.
Think about size as well. Do you have a huge fridge-freezer that’s only ever half-full? Buying appropriate size appliances will save you money too. (more information about energy efficient appliances here.)
9. Use The Microwave
Cook food in the microwave whenever you can. When it comes to heating up small portions of food, microwaving is more energy efficient than the hob, and a lot more efficient than the oven. Just remember to turn it off at the plug when you’re finished.
10. Don’t Leave Appliances On Standby
Your dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, tumble dryer and electric oven will all sit there eating up your electricity when left on standby. Get into the habit of turning them off at the plug when not in use. The same goes for other appliances around the house.