According to the US Department of Energy, the kitchen accounts for roughly 15% of the average American household’s energy consumption. The fridge, food prep and cooking, and dishwashing all require power. And as the cost of utilities rises ever higher, it becomes more crucial than ever to be energy efficient.
But don’t assume that having an efficient kitchen means you must sacrifice comfort. These outcomes are not mutually exclusive. You can do some simple things to make your kitchen more energy efficient.
In this article, we explore five practical ways to conserve energy in the kitchen.
1. Point-of-Service Water Heater
A point-of-use or point-of-service water heater is a small stand-alone heating unit that heats water at the source. Simply put, it heats the water directly above or below the sink and faucet instead of heating the water from a water tank on another floor.
There are over-sink water heaters and under-sink water heaters. An over-sink or under-sink water heater is a point-of-use water heater that only heats water for a single location – that being the sink. A multi-point or multi-tank water heater can heat multiple locations. Ultimately, all of these are efficient solutions that can directly impact your electricity bills.
2. Connect an Aerator to Your Faucet
What is an aerator? It’s a simple device with a mesh screen that controls how water is dispersed from a faucet. The aerator is simply screwed to or connected to the tip of your faucet. These small but effective devices lower water bills by reducing the amount of water you use. They also improve water pressure and reduce splashing.
3. Use a Water-Efficient Faucet
There are several water-efficient faucets you can use. Pull-down faucets have a retractable head that allows users to bring the faucet head directly under dishes, bowls, or produce, thereby reducing the amount of water they use. A pull-out faucet is like a pull-down faucet in terms of efficiency. It’s an ideal solution for smaller sinks. However, it uses a flexible hose instead of a faucet head or spout.
Other efficient faucets include single and double-handle faucets, which help with more control over temperature and water flow. However, perhaps the most efficient faucet is the touchless faucet. This type of automatic faucet uses motion sensors to control the amount of water dispersed by controlling the solenoid valve. All users have to do is wave their hands in front of the faucet.
4. Adopt a Lean Mindset
You don’t have to work in manufacturing to understand the basic concept of lean manufacturing. At its core, lean manufacturing is simply a process that focuses on eliminating waste. That waste includes movement. An inefficient workspace requires you to move often and travel long distances to get what you need to do your job. This is wasted time, and it adds up.
For manufacturers, wasted movement is wasted money. For a kitchen, wasted movement is an irritant.
Now, think about how your current kitchen is laid out. If your refrigerator is on one end of your kitchen and the sink and stove are on the other end, then you’re traveling and moving more than needed. The longer the distance is, the more you have to walk. It may not seem like much, but it can quickly become tiresome. Kitchens within new homes are designed with lean concepts. Unfortunately, some older homes aren’t.
An efficient kitchen is one where you’re able to easily move from one appliance to another in a sequential process. Movements are minimized, and everything is properly placed. It’s ultimately about how the kitchen is laid out. Your refrigerator should be near your stove, and the sink should be a step or two away from both. The idea is to minimize your movements to make the natural flow seamless.
5. Use Energy Efficient Appliances
The three appliances that use the most energy and water in your kitchen are your oven, your dishwasher, and your refrigerator. After the big three, it’s down to the microwave, toaster, and coffee maker. Choosing Energy Star-rated appliances will not only help you reduce energy consumption, but it’s much better for the environment.
According to a study by the Electric Power Research Institute, gas stoves are only 40 percent efficient. Electric countertop stoves are 74 percent efficient, and induction stoves are 84 percent efficient.
If you have a gas stove, you’re wasting energy (60 percent). That refrigerator with the ice maker you’ve always liked is anything but efficient. According to some estimates, the ice maker increases your refrigerator’s energy usage by about 15%.
Ultimately, it’s not just about having an efficiently-designed kitchen that is easy to navigate. It’s ultimately about combining that efficient layout with energy-efficient appliances that help to reduce your monthly bills.