Modern kitchen
Modern kitchen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The kitchen can really be the heart of the home. It is a gathering place, a place where food is prepared and consumed, and a room filled with memories and good smells. It makes sense to have your kitchen as energy-efficient as possible so you can enjoy the time you spend in it. It is much easier to focus and relax if you are not stressed about how much water or energy you are using while preparing food. Here are some tips to help you keep your kitchen energy use at a minimum and the cozy feelings at a maximum.

1. Buy used

Are you planning to remodel? Buy used or refurbished countertops, light fixtures, cabinets, etc. Look at your local second-hand store, antique store, or Re-Store (Habitat for Humanity’s store). You can also make your own from recycled materials – it’s a great time to get creative with fitting a lot into a small space.

2. Think before you snack

Holding the refrigerator door open while you think about what to eat is a tremendous waste of energy. Think about what you would like to eat first, then open the door. A helpful thing to do is to keep a magnetic pad on the fridge and briefly note what leftovers go in and the date. And make sure the door is shut before you walk away.

3. Don’t peak!

Don’t open your oven door to check the progress of the food you’re cooking if you can help it. Each time you open the oven door, it can lower the temperature as much as 25 degrees. Also, you can reduce cooking time by consolidating your dishes – bake the meat and the bread at the same time, for example.

4. Take advantage of tax credits

Now is a great time to replace some of your old, inefficient kitchen appliances. The government is offering tax credits to those who upgrade to more energy-efficient refrigerators, stoves, freezers, dishwashers, etc. In addition, take some time to get the right size appliance, and purchase the smallest available item that meets your needs.

5. Keep the air moving

Kitchens generate a lot of heat, and your refrigerator and freezer are trying to keep things cool. Be sure your heat-generating appliances are separated from the cooling ones, and consider installing a ceiling fan. If a ceiling fan does not work for your budget or sense of esthetics, you can simply mount an electric fan in a window or on top of the refrigerator. While it will use some electricity, a fan does not consume nearly the energy that the refrigerator and freezer do when they are working against heat.

These are just some of the things you can do to cut energy use in your kitchen. Go online and find out even more tips and tricks for cutting energy use.

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