Eco Tip – Saving Energy in the Kitchen

THE MYTHICAL ‘average’ family is supposed to use 25% of their energy in the kitchen. There are savings to be made through changing habits. The big ones are teaching all the members of the household not to fill the kettle just to make one mug of tea, and planning to fill the oven when using it. At the same time, we should avoid unnecessarily heating things we store in the oven. Many of us keep baking sheets and that tray used once a year for the turkey in the bottom of the oven. Here they are heated up regularly and prevent good air flow. Find another storage spot. Similarly, the scale in the kettle reduces heat transfer to the water and needs regular removal. Use lemon juice or citric acid, clear the filter regularly, and don’t fill the kettle through the spout so that the solids get washed back in.

More savings can be made through changing cooking methods without buying new equipment. Try using your microwave for the vegetables you normally boil on the cooker. It is energy efficient, quicker, reduces steam in the kitchen and produces tastier vegetables, although it doesn’t provide stock for soup. The key is to cut the veg into equal sized pieces. Although it takes practice to get the timing right for your tastebuds, there are some useful starting tables on the web, such as:

Refrigeration needs maintenance as well. If it is not built-in, remove dust from the coils at the back of the fridge and ensure there is air flow between the coils and the door. Defrost the fridge regularly, and plan ahead when defrosting food. If it isn’t a proprietary ‘cook from frozen’, then defrost your block of whatever in the fridge and save cooling energy. And remember to let food cool before stuffing it in the freezer in the first place!