Leading a green lifestyle means different things to different people. To some, the idea of practicing eco-friendly habits on a day-to-day basis can seem taxing and expensive (those hybrids don’t come cheap). But if the average person begins to adopt a green attitude in the home, he or she will find that they can not only do their part to reduce their carbon footprint, but save money on energy costs as well.
Take the kitchen for example. Aside from heating and cooling, the majority of energy consumed by the home comes from appliances used in the kitchen such as refrigerators and dishwashers. Many homes and apartments are still outfitted with antiquated appliances that draw far more energy than is practical. Those who are at the point where they need to replace home appliances – or those moving into a new home – should consider going green, if not for the environment than possibly for the cost savings.
Purchasing Energy-efficient appliances
The idea of “green appliances” may seem like a new-agey concept, but even the federal government has underwritten the idea of a rating system for appliances based on energy consumption. The result is the Energy Star ratings, and they have helped consumers save billions of dollars on their utility bills annually. These ratings are available at the official site, which allows users to search by individual appliance. Those in the market for a new blender or fridge can simply log onto the website and type in the appliance in question and the site produces a list of various makes and models – all with the Energy Star seal.
As for the old appliances, environmental experts recommend recycling them rather than tossing them out. Many secondhand stores will take used appliances, and most cities and counties have a drop-off program for larger items such as refrigerators.
Outfitting a kitchen with energy-efficient items is a good first step, but there are also other, more practical ways people can use their appliances to reduce energy costs as well.
- Use ceramic or glass dishes when cooking in the oven, as doing so allows for a reduction in temperature by 25 degrees. And, of course, avoid opening the oven door periodically during the cooking process, as peeking leads to energy loss.
- Use burners appropriate for the task at hand. Many people often use smaller pots and pans on larger burners, and this results in a waste of 40% or more of heat.
- Don’t pre-wash dishes and hand wash whenever possible. Modern dishwashers – even energy-efficient dishwashers – have the power to properly wash dishes without the need for a pre rinse. Those who wash dishes by hand should do so using basins of water rather than constantly running the faucet.
- Unplug when possible. According to statistics, U.S. citizens spend 4 billion a year powering appliances they aren’t using. The simple fact is that anything plugged in draws juice, whether it is on or off. People can save over a hundred dollars annually by unplugging appliances when they aren’t in use.
These are just a few things people can do to upgrade their kitchen with green appliances and reduce energy costs. And between cutting both carbon footprint and utility bills, there’s no reason not to implement many of the above ideas.
Nina Baker is an avid blogger and contributor to SterlingServiceGroupinc.com, a leading appliance repair company in Chicago IL.