Save Money with an Energy-Efficient Kitchen
When you're designing or remodeling a kitchen, the choices seem endless. This can be fantastic since you can get what you want, but the sheer number of options can also be overwhelming. You want this gathering place to be beautiful, comfortable, unique, well-built, and functional.
You can perfect your dream kitchen by adding one more quality to your list: energy efficient. This new qualification will not only improve the kitchen's functionality, but it can help narrow your list of options.
Energy-Efficient Appliances Lower Utilities
Sometimes when we hear "energy efficient" we think it's a euphemism for "expensive." While energy-efficient appliances tend to have a higher sticker price, they save money on your utility bill. Their "second price tag" (that's paid over your appliance's lifetime) will help you save your wallet and the environment.
Natural Resources Canada provides an Energy Cost Calculator that gives consumers a peek into how much they can save. Just input your potential appliance's Energy Guide (EnerGuide) rating (in the form of kWh/year) followed by your province and the type of appliance you're calculating. For example, if you live in Alberta and buy a new refrigerator that uses 529 kWh every year, you will save an estimated $489.64 over its 13-year lifetime.
Energy Efficient Appliances Decrease Air Pollution
You won't just save money when you buy energy-efficient appliances; you will also help decrease air pollution.
We depend on power plants that burn fossil fuels to power our homes. Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources that emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. These gases contribute to air pollution, acid rain, and even global warming.
Energy-efficient appliances still depend on these fossil fuels, but they decrease their usage so you don't have to spend as much on fuel.
Look for the Energy Star Logo
Energy Star labels signify the highest efficiency models on the market. They exceed federal standards and have the same high-end performance and features of their counterparts. If you are looking for a high-efficiency appliance but are not sure where to start, look for this logo.
Be careful not to confuse the Energy Star logo with the model's Energy Guide. Their names might be similar, but law requires every new appliance to have an Energy Guide label. Just because they have one does not mean they are energy efficient; it merely allows consumers to easily compare models' energy consumption and operation cost.
Make the Most of Your Appliances
Once you buy your appliances, you can continually contribute to their efficiency-ultimately saving you money. The following section offers a few tips on how to use your new purchases:
Refrigerators consume more energy than any other appliance. One of the best ways to decrease that consumption is to adjust its temperature settings. Unless food freezes in the refrigerator or melts in the freezer, we tend to leave it on the same setting, and this temperature is usually lower than necessary.
One trick to see if yours is on the correct setting is to place a glass of water inside and leave it overnight. By morning, it should reach about 2-4 degrees Celsius. If it goes much over or under that range, you may need to adjust the thermostat.
Additionally, the food you place in your refrigerator will affect its overall temperature, so always place cold food inside to maximize cooling efficiency.
The common saying "a watched pot never boils" takes on a whole new meaning when we realize how much heat we lose if we leave our pots and pans uncovered. Lids contain your stove's generated heat inside the pot, making it heat faster on a lower setting. This save s energy and time.
Always use the burner that best matches your pot or pan's size. Large burners are usually placed in front and seem more convenient, but you will lose heat and energy from the wasted space.
New dishwashers remove most food residue. Therefore, we don't need to pre-wash dishes unless the residue is particularly stubborn. Scrape off leftovers and save time and energy by letting the machine do the work.
It's always nice to have an empty dishwasher and full cabinets, but wait to start that load until the washer is completely full. Whether your dishwasher washes 2 plates or 20, it uses the same amount of water. If your dishwasher has the option, use the light-wash or energy-saving cycle. These cycles clean your dishes more quickly and use less water in the process.
Save the Environment from the Comfort of Your Kitchen
Many Canadians recycle because it is an easy and effective way to contribute to the "green" cause. However, we can take it one step further by using energy-efficient appliances and kitchenware. It reduces fossil fuel consumption and ultimately saves you money.
Whether you're designing an entirely new kitchen, remodeling an old one, or just need a new refrigerator, Energy Star appliances will help you become energy efficient. Whatever you decide, enjoy your dream kitchen!