The phrase “home energy efficiency” causes most of us to immediately think about triple-paned windows and Energy Star appliances. Important energy savers, to be sure. However, as one energy efficiency expert counsels, not all changes have to be big or expensive to make a difference. Many of the small choices we make every day can impact our energy usage as well.
Daniel Lanzilotta, owner of The Mindful Chef and an executive chef/chef educator, offers these simple tips to ensure your kitchen is energy efficient.
- Check your seal. One of the most important factors in determining your refrigerator’s energy efficiency is the quality of its seal. Check the seal regularly to ensure it is not dried out and is still sealing properly. If it’s not, replace it. This inexpensive repair can make a big difference in your refrigerator’s efficiency.
- Stop refrigerator gazing. We’re all guilty of standing mindlessly in front of the open refrigerator door, pondering what we should eat. Not only can this habit lead to poor choices, it also increases our utility bill as well. According to Lanzilotta, this represents one of the basic laws of thermo-dynamics—heat is attracted to cold—and gazing at an open refrigerator causes the hot air to rush in, raising the internal temperature of the appliance.
- Allow food to cool. When you place hot leftovers directly into your refrigerator, you are forcing your appliance to work harder than necessary to cool your food and, in turn, the interior of the unit. By allowing your food to begin to cool naturally before placing it in the fridge, you’re increasing your efficiency and saving money and energy.
Sink and dishwasher tips:
- Be mindful of water waste. By being aware and conservative when using water at the sink you can dramatically reduce your water waste. Run water only when necessary and only use hot water when absolutely needed.
- Wait until your dishwasher is full. Many people are guilty of running a dishwasher half-empty. Lanzilotta urges people to wait until the unit is full before running. Also, check your settings to make sure you are only utilizing the features that are necessary.
- Take care of your hot water heater. Perhaps the most important kitchen-efficiency change you can make is not even found in the kitchen. Check your hot water heater’s setting and insulate pipes to prevent heat loss.