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Ways To Make Your Kitchen More Energy Efficient And Save Money
By Chileshe Mwape

a) Kitchen Appliances Install energy efficient labelled kitchen appliances (refrigerators, dishwashers, and clothes washers). Every kitchen appliance has two price tags � a purchase price and the operating cost. Energy efficient models will save you money and use less energy.

b) Lighting - Install energy efficient labelled lighting (e.g., light fixtures: suspended lights, ceiling-mounted lights, cabinet lights, recessed lights, and compact fluorescent bulbs).

c) Refrigerator - In most households, the refrigerator is the single biggest energy consuming kitchen appliance. Energy efficient refrigerator models use high efficiency compressors, improved insulation, and more precise temperature and defrost mechanisms to improve energy efficiency. Energy efficient refrigerators provide energy savings without sacrificing the features you want.

  • - Keep your refrigerator and freezer filled for most economical operation. Less cold air is lost when the door is opened in a filled refrigerator because the food helps retain the cold.
  • - Allow foods to partially cool before placing them in the refrigerator. It takes more energy to cool hot food. For added savings, cover foods and liquids. The moisture that is released by uncovered containers increases energy use during the refrigerator's defrost cycle.
  • - Select a refrigerator with a freezer on top. A side-by side unit uses up to 20 percent more energy. The Energy Guide label will help you choose the most efficient model.

d) Oven - Don't open the oven door to take a peek at what's cooking inside. Instead, turn on the oven light and check the cooking status through the oven window. Opening the oven door lowers the temperature inside - by as much as 25 degrees - which increases cooking time and wastes energy.

  • -As long as your oven is on, cook several items at the same time. Just make sure you leave enough room for the heat to circulate around each item.
  • - In an electric oven, you can turn the heat off several minutes before your food is fully cooked. As long as the oven door remains closed, enough heat will be stored inside to finish cooking your meal.

e) Dishwasher - Let your dishes air dry. A dishwasher uses more energy to dry dishes than to wash them. If your dishwasher doesn't have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open to let moisture escape.

  • - When purchasing a dishwasher, look for energy saving features such as a short wash cycle. Shorter washing cycles, with fewer rinses, save water and water-heating energy.
  • - Use your dishwasher only for full loads. Be sure your dishwasher is full, but not overloaded when you turn it on. Improper loading can result in poorly cleaned dishes that need to be rewashed.
  • - Install your dishwasher away from your refrigerator. The dishwasher's heat and moisture make the refrigerator work harder. Keep your refrigerator away from other heat sources such as direct sunlight.

f) Kitchen Walls, Windows and Doors - If your remodelling plans include opening walls you could improve your comfort and the energy efficiency of your home by adding insulation and air sealing. If you are replacing the windows, doors, and skylights, install those with the energy efficient label to make your kitchen the most energy efficient on the block.

Chileshe Mwape writes for the Kitchen Appliances website at: http://www.kitchen-appliances-uk.org.uk/ and for a number of other websites including http://www.in-cast-iron.org.uk/ where you can find a wide selection of cast iron appliances.