Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer energy saving tips for the kitchen

Since summer tends to be the time when my energy bills are the highest, I thought I'd start sharing some of my best summer energy saving tips, and the easiest place for me to start is in the kitchen. The kitchen has the potential to both use a lot of energy itself, and to heat your house significantly, causing you spend even more on energy to cool it back down. By employing these energy saving tips this summer, you'll keep cool, eat well, and keep some of your money in the bank.

1. Don't cook. The most efficient way to keep your kitchen cool and green is by eating raw or cold foods. Try to eat more salads and cold sandwiches, more fruit instead of baked goods, and cold beverages in place of hot ones. This serves double duty: you don't spend energy on the cooking process, and you keep both your house and your body cooler. Bonus: higher water content foods like fruits and vegetables will be more appealing and refreshing to your dehydrated body. Who wants to eat heavy foods when it's 100 degrees out anyway?

2. Cook outside. If you are going to cook, try to move it outside and away from your house. You'll spend some money firing up the grill, but it will keep your house cool. Besides, nothing tasts more like summer than dinner off the grill. Bonus: I can't remember where I read it, but last summer another blogger suggested putting your crock pot on your porch. While they don't give off that much heat, this can't hurt. Plus, if you are eating outside, it will be more convenient to have your side items outside with your grill.

3. Use smaller appliances. Don't turn on your oven if you have a toaster oven that will do the trick. Use a microwave whenever possible. The smaller the appliance, the less energy it uses and the more heat it gives off.

4. Mind your refrigerator. Your fridge has to work harder and use more energy in the summer anyway, so be extra careful to keep the door closed. Before cooking, plan everything you need so you only have to open the fridge door once (in one monstrous trip, like Rachel Ray does where she always likes like she's thisclose to dropping something). When putting things away, stage them next to the refrigerator for the same reason. Put the things you use most often in convenient locations so you can get to them quickly. And I shouldn't even have to mention standing in front of the refrigerator deciding what to eat.

5. Keep your dishwasher closed. In the winter, I like to open my dishwasher to vent (I always have it set to air dry). In the summer though, I leave it closed during the dry cycle. The steam that goes into the air during the dry cycle will both heat up your home and add a lot of moisture to the air, which makes it feel hotter. Instead, dry the dishes with a towel if they are still wet.

6. Be careful of vent fans. If you are running the air conditioning, turning the vent fan on will vent all your cooled air out into the world, so use it sparingly. Of course, if you are a champ and keep your AC turned off, the vent fan will vent the hot air from your kitchen and may actually help.

For more frugal tips, chek out Frugal Friday


loan modification said...

great ideas! thanks for sharing them.