With the recent volatility in energy prices and the growing concern that greenhouse gases are contributing to climate change, consumers are looking for ways to reduce energy consumption in their home. Today, technological advancements, such as higher energy ratings for appliances and lighting in the kitchen have improved efficiency. With the kitchen full of appliances using energy and more lighting taking its toll on consumption, it’s important to think about replacing them with models for the best efficacy and reduced operating costs.
A study by the professional consulting firm Deloitte suggests that there is a rise in the diligent attitude toward energy consumption by consumers. According to the study, 68% of consumers have taken extra steps to cut their electricity bills since the recession hit in 2011. There appears to be a birth toward energy conscientiousness, and 95% of the people, who did take steps to reduce their bills, do not intend to increase their usage even as the economy improves.
In your kitchen, the major appliances, like refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, ovens washers/dryers and lighting account for a big chunk of your monthly utility bill. If you have a refrigerator that is more than a decade old, you’re using more energy and spending more of your hard earned dollars. However, you can change your kitchen from being an energy guzzler to an efficient location. Government standards have tightened considerably over the last few years, so any new appliance you buy today has to use less energy than the model you’re replacing. More energy-efficient motors, compressors, pumps and valves and improved gaskets, seals and insulation have all contributed to lowering an appliance’s energy consumption.
The most efficient products carry the ENERGY STAR logo. These qualified household appliances are the most energy efficient in any product category. They exceed the minimums regulations set by the government guidelines. They use less energy than conventional appliances and offer superior performance and save you money. A new energy efficient washing machine or dishwasher can use up to 40% less energy than an outdated model. The more efficient an appliance, the less it costs to operate. Although it may cost more initially, its running costs are less and the machine will last longer. That makes it better for you and the environment.
- Refrigerators use the most energy of any home appliance. Features like automatic ice dispensers can increase electricity usage by as much as 20% compared to similar models. Therefore, choose what you really need and use.
- Always run your dishwasher with a full load because most of the energy used in a dishwasher is spent heating the water. Filling your machine is more effective than running half-loads.
- Energy efficient washers and dryers use 50% less energy. They extract more water during spin cycles, reducing drying time which saves energy and money. Front-loading machines use one-third less water, one third less heat energy and less detergent.
- Cooking with a microwave oven instead of the stove can save you money. Fast and efficient microwaves use from 30% to as much as 80% less energy than conventional ovens.
- When considering gas or electric ovens, self-cleaning has more insulation, keeps the heat in better and uses less energy. Convection ovens reduce required temperature settings, hence cut energy use by 20%.
Ask anyone where most people spend their time at your house and the answer is most likely the kitchen. Since this room is the new social gathering hot-spot, the kitchen is using more lighting and it’s an energy consumption drain, but you can make it more energy efficient by:
- Install Energy Star rated recessed pot lights for an inviting but uncluttered look.
- If you already have old pot lights in the ceiling, buy an Energy Star CFL or LED retrofit to upgrade your lighting and lower your energy bills.
- Replace old fluorescent tube lighting with smaller and energy efficient tube lighting under the counters for a striking effect but lesser cost.
- Install modern task lighting with LED lights as focal points for the counters.
- Install group lights on a separate control switch so you can turn on a few lights at a time and prevent energy overuse. Use dimmers to control the amount of energy used.
- If your budget is tight for retrograding, swap old bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs.