If you’re planning a kitchen makeover, you’re probably already well aware of the overwhelming number of appliances on the market, many with exciting bells and whistles, and available in a range of price points. One way to narrow down the seemingly limitless choices is to eliminate the energy hogs and look for the greener, more eco-friendly appliance options. Though some green choices may be more of an initial investment, the savings will quickly pay off in terms of energy savings–and you can feel good about reducing your home’s carbon footprint. Make eco-smart choices with these tips for selecting energy efficient appliances for your kitchen.
The refrigerator is the biggest energy hog of all the kitchen appliances, accounting for as much as 15 percent of your home’s energy usage. Choosing an energy-efficient refrigerator can be as easy as looking for the Energy Star* label; but for maximum efficiency, don’t stop there: side-by-side refrigerators use about 20 percent more energy than top or bottom freezer models, and through-the-door ice makers and water dispensers increase overall refrigerator energy consumption by 10 to 15 percent.
*If all refrigerators sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $1.4 billion each year and 19 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented.
Cooktops & Ranges
While gas cooktops use less energy than electric ones, they do release combustion by-products (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide) into the air. If you choose a gas cooktop or range, be sure to have a hood ventilated to the outside of the house. A good quality exhaust hood will remove up to 70 percent of these pollutants. Look for Energy Star certified exhaust systems which use 65 percent less energy and avoid downdraft hoods, which do not perform as well as overhead hoods.
Magnetic induction cooktops and ranges are much more energy efficient than gas or electric because they cook food faster and lose less heat in the process. A magnetic induction cooktop’s heat is transferred directly to the pan through high-tech magnetism, leading to little wasted heat. By only heating the pot, and not the air around the vessel, the result is a cooler kitchen for even more energy efficiency.
Ovens are inherently inefficient. For better efficiency, choose the smallest oven for your needs. If you have occasions when a small oven just won’t cut it, consider two smaller wall ovens rather than one large one. Look for models with a convection option. Convection cooking employs a fan that circulates heated air around the food, reducing temperature and cooking times and using 20 percent less energy. Additionally, models with self-cleaning features are better insulated, which boosts efficiency.
Energy Star–rated dishwashers use at least 41 percent less energy than the federal minimum standard. Look for models with energy-saving wash cycle options, as well as models with booster heaters that will rise the water to 140 degrees while keeping your water heater at 120 degrees. Dishwasher drawers are great energy savers for running small loads. Install two units for full size dish washing when needed.
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