The kitchen is home to some of the biggest energy-consuming appliances: the refrigerator, the dishwasher, and of course, the oven. A conventional oven is great for roasting a turkey or baking a pie, but if you’re trying to conserve energy, the oven is not your friend. Fortunately, the kitchen is fertile ground for energy conservation. Your cupboard are full of powerful energy savers, ready to simplify your life and shrink your utility bill. Try using small countertop appliances instead of a full-size cooking range—you’ll whip up something delicious and save energy. Multitasking at its finest!
A toaster oven uses 30 to 50% less energy than a conventional oven, according a 2011 EnergyStar report. These compact powerhouses can do anything your oven can do: bake a cake, cook a frozen pizza, reheat leftovers. Most toaster ovens come with a variety of trays and racks, perfect for baking small batches of cookies or roasting vegetables. Look for convection toaster ovens, which utilize small fans to circulate hot air, cooking faster and more evenly.
An electric kettle is a great workhorse for tea lover. In an electric kettle, the heating element is in direct contact with water, so very little energy is wasted. Electric kettles boil water remarkably quickly. Tea not your thing? Use a kettle to boil water for French press coffee, instant soup or noodles, or to fill hot water bottles (but be careful!). Maximize energy efficiency by using only as much water as you’ll actually use.
According to Planet Green, the slow cooker is one of the most energy efficient kitchen appliances. It uses .9 pounds of CO2 for seven hours of use, while a conventional oven uses 2.7 pounds of CO2 in one hour. With low heat and a long, slow cook time, slow cookers are great for soup, chili, oatmeal, meat, and even desserts like brownies and baked apples. Bonus: most slow cooker meals require only one pot, so you’ll save water and time by minimizing dishwashing.
So, three small kitchen appliances to roast your vegetables faster, help you make a great cup of tea, and cook your beans more efficiently—all while reducing your total energy consumption. Just be sure you unplug small appliances when not in use!
EnerChange helps nonprofit organizations save money by saving energy. EnerChange provides free services to nonprofits to help them identify and implement energy efficiency that creates savings. Please visit us at www.enerchange.org.
Image Credit: Andy Butkaj