Saving Energy in the Kitchen
The use of solar energy is really all about being energy smart. Why waste anything, if you don't have to-most of all, energy? You can do a lot for the environment, too, by adopting these simple kitchen energy saving tools especially for the summer. These are courtesy of the Canadian Natural Resources web site
- Turn on your range hood when cooking, to exhaust waste heat from your home. Coordinate meal planning with the seasons. Remember, nothing tastes better than a cold salad on a hot day.
- Keep your oven door tightly closed. Use the oven light to check on progress when baking or roasting.
- Timers and meat thermometers save energy and help you avoid overcooked meals.
- Select right-sized pots and pans with tight-fitting lids and cook at lower temperatures to reduce energy use. A six-inch pan on an eight-inch element, for example, wastes 40 percent of the element's heat output.
- Make full use of microwave ovens in hot weather. Microwave cooking can reduce energy consumption by two-thirds and produces much less waste heat than your stove. Toaster ovens and slow cookers are also a great way to reduce energy use in the kitchen.
- Convection ovens consume up to one-third less energy than standard ovens. Heated air is continuously circulated by the oven's fan, for more even heat and reduced cooking times.
- Full loads only, please, when you run the dishwasher. Use your range hood when the dishwasher is operating to vent excess heat and humidity outdoors.
- Vacuum your refrigerator's cooling coils every three months. Excessive dust buildup will reduce the energy efficiency and life expectancy of the compressor. Make sure there are no gaps in the door seal.
- Don't overfill your refrigerator-freezer; cool air needs to circulate freely throughout the interior of the appliance.
- Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator before cooking.
- Use food storage containers with tight-fitting covers to prevent excessive moisture buildup in your refrigerator and to reduce energy consumption. Covered containers will prevent unwanted flavor transfer, too.
- Get rid of that old beer fridge in the basement. An inefficient refrigerator with an ill-fitting door can cost hundreds of dollars per year to operate.
- Your freezer works best when it is filled to capacity. Place covered plastic water-filled containers in your freezer for maximum efficiency, and buy the smallest model that will meet your needs.
- Label frozen food clearly to minimize the amount of cold that escapes when searching for specific items.
- Upright freezers are generally more expensive than chest freezers and are 10-25% less energy-efficient. Defrost your freezer whenever ice buildup is more than 1/4 inch thick.