Make this year’s Thanksgiving energy efficient with these kitchen tips.
Thanksgiving is a good time to think about energy use in the kitchen. From chilling groceries and cooking a turkey to cleaning up after dinner, preparing a holiday feast requires a lot of energy! Fortunately, there are a number of kitchen appliances that can help cut your energy use and costs all year round.
A good place to look for energy-efficient kitchen appliances is National Resources Canada’s Searchable Products Database.
Here you can find up-to-date energy efficiency listings for all sorts of eco-friendly products sold in Canada, including refrigerators, cooktops, ovens, ranges and dishwashers.
An old refrigerator can result in significant energy costs — a model 16 years or older could cost you as much as $150 per year to run! If you’re looking to upgrade to a newer model, some utilities offer free refrigerator pickup services.
When looking for an energy-efficient fridge, there are a few things to consider. Check that it has the Energy Star Most Efficient designation, and be sure to buy the right sized model for you. For example, a 16-cubic foot fridge uses 330 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per year, whereas one that is 24 cubic feet can require more than twice the energy.
Also, consider getting one without an icemaker, which increases the fridge’s energy consumption by 12 to 20 per cent. Models with bottom or top freezers are more energy efficient than models with side freezers.
Most models of electric cooktops, whether conventional or smoothtop, use around 230 kWh of energy per year. Induction cooktops, meanwhile, are leading the way in energy efficiency — they use an electromagnetic current to heat steel cookware and the food inside, resulting in faster cooking times with much less energy.
A single oven can use as much as 400 kWh of energy per year. Convection ovens are more efficient, using a fan to circulate hot air. This also produces more even baking and roasting at lower temperatures and cooking times. And self-cleaning ovens have tighter seals and better insulation, which can help to keep heat in.
A kitchen range includes both an oven and a cooktop surface. Freestanding ranges with smoothtop stoves can use 330 to 710 kWh of energy per year. Natural gas ranges can be very energy efficient, and offer finer control over cooking temperature, but require a gas hookup in the kitchen and do not get EnerGuide ratings.
With their quick-heat capability, microwave ovens can also help to reduce energy use.
Cooking or re-heating a small portion of food in the microwave is most efficient, saving as much as 80 per cent of the energy that would be used by a range oven. Other small appliances, like toaster ovens and crockpots, provide even more energy savings.
Cleaning up is hardly as fun as enjoying the meal, but a dishwasher can make the job much easier. Unfortunately, they can also use a lot of energy and water.
Some conventional dishwasher models use as much as 350 kWh per year! Standard-sized, built-in dishwashers are 75 per cent more energy efficient than older models and use as a little as 12 litres of water or less per cycle, compared to 21 litres for less efficient ones.
Running the dishwasher only when it’s full will also lower your energy bill by reducing the number of loads you need to do.
If you live in a province like Ontario that has time-of-use energy pricing, it’s a good idea to run it in the evening when the cost of electricity is lower. Of course, make sure the whole family helps to load it before they call it a night with a belly full of turkey.
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