Kitchen Energy Savers

Your kitchen contains the biggest energy and water hogs in your home. By changing a few cooking habits and using your appliances more efficiently, you can reduce your kitchen energy usage and save some cash.



Oven Stove Kitchen Energy Savers



When using the oven, preheat for 5-8 minutes only, and cut cooking time up to 20% by moving the rack closer to the heating unit. Every time you open the oven door, you lose 25-30 degrees, so check food with the oven light instead. Save energy and time by using the self-cleaning feature right after cooking to take advantage of residual heat.


For smaller meals, cut usage in half with an electric pan or toaster oven. Slow cookers are a great alternative and average a dime’s worth of electricity per meal. Cut out electricity altogether by grilling out, and you’ll avoid forcing the refrigerator to work harder in a hot kitchen.


If you have a gas range, confirm you are getting a blue flame. A yellow flame means the fuel is burning inefficiently, and your gas line should be checked by your gas company. When buying new, look for an oven with an automatic electric ignition system instead of having a continuously burning pilot light.


On top, purchase reflective (instead of dull) burner pans to direct more heat to cookware and save one-third of the energy usage. Blackened, dirty burner pans absorb heat and reduce efficiency, so clean them regularly. Reduce heat loss by using pots and pans with flat bottoms and matching them to the correct burner size.



Refrigerator Freezer Kitchen Energy Savers



Save energy by not setting your refrigerator and freezer colder than necessary. The Department of Energy recommends setting refrigerators between 36-38°F and freezers between 0-5°F.


You can do simple things to prevent your refrigerator from working overtime. Maintain circulation by not overcrowding the shelves. Make the condenser work more efficiently by waiting for food to cool before storing and covering containers to prevent moisture. Every three months, vacuum the condenser coils underneath and behind the unit. Test for air leakage by closing the door over a piece of paper. If it pulls out easily, look into getting a new latch or seal.



Dishwasher Sink Kitchen Energy Savers



Conventional faucets flow up to five gallons per minute, but you can reduce this to 1.5 gallons simply by installing a low-flow faucet. Remember to choose cold water for rinsing, filling pots or running the garbage disposal. In fact, skip the garbage disposal and create a compost heap instead.


Dishwashers save time, but they raise utility bills, too. Wait until you have a full load and let dishes air dry after cleaning. The “rinse hold” setting uses 3-7 gallons of hot water per use, so ignore this setting when you have few soiled dishes. When purchasing a dishwasher, look for ones with internal booster heaters, so that you can set your water heater thermostat at 120°F (rather than 140°F for dishwashing purposes).


Without making major changes, you can make your kitchen more energy efficient and save considerably on your monthly costs.


5 Energy Tips for Your Restaurant

Like any great restaurant owner, you have a lot of plates in the air. Between establishing and maintaining a cool ambiance, serving quality food and recruiting experienced staff, you may feel as if you’re burning through money. Trying to become more energy efficient would just be another weight on your shoulders. But, running an energy-smart eatery doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, with these baseline tips, you’ll start seeing some dough roll back in.


You can cut utility costs by 10 to 30% if you strategically invest in energy efficiency, according to By implementing Energy Star’s recommended tips, including the ones below, you can reduce energy costs by up to 20%. That kind of savings can lead to as much as a 30% increase in profits.



Serve Something Light1. Serve Something Light: It’s almost too easy, but replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can save energy with little effort. CFLs use nearly 80% less energy, which can save you up to $75 for every five bulbs swapped out. Plus, they last at least three times longer than incandescent alternatives. Your EXIT signs could even use a change. For these brighter luminaries, use light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.


Set the Timer2. Set the Timer: Instead of manually adjusting your heating and cooling system each day, use a programmable thermostat that you can set and forget. A smart thermostat can automatically adjust the temperature based on your restaurant’s operating hours. With heating and cooling accounting for the majority of your utility bill, there’s a lot of savings to be had from efficiently controlling your restaurant’s climate.


Place an Order for Shade3. Place an Order for Shade: Speaking of climate control, what are you doing about that midday glare? Professionally-installed window film can block up to 99% of the sun’s rays, naturally keeping your restaurant cooler and customers more comfortable without turning up the A/C. And no matter what time of day, customers won’t need to squint, making it easier for them to enjoy their dining experience.


Cut the Power4. Cut the Power: Chances are you leave appliances on even when they aren’t being used. Power down ovens, toasters, and even cash registers when you don’t need them. If you have refrigerators or freezers that consistently remain half-full, condense all the food into fewer units and shut off these under-utilized energy-eaters.


Take Out the Trash5. Take Out the Trash: Whether it’s an extra refrigerator you’ve been holding on to, a mediocre exhaust hood or a 10-year-old dishwasher, you likely have at least one large, energy-draining item that needs to be thrown out. If it’s a necessary appliance or ventilation system, be sure to replace the old unit with an ENERGY STAR certified version. A good example would be replacing an outdated dishwasher with an insulated or infrared gas model for optimum energy savings.


Some energy efficient enhancements will come with a greater financial investment initially. However, with the possibility of a cleaner, more comfortable dining experience and happier, more productive employees, you can’t afford not to invest in some of these simple energy-saving tactics.


3 Easy Ways to Increase Your Refrigerator’s Efficiency

The refrigerator is America’s most popular appliance. It makes sense: the need to preserve food with spices is, in large part, what drove Columbus across the ocean blue. But are you getting the most out of your favorite appliance? Studies have shown that a significant percentage of Americans (particularly those who own more than one fridge) throw hundreds of dollars away each year on excess refrigeration. We want to help you make your home as efficient as possible. Here are three easy ways to increase your refrigerator’s efficiency.



1. Keep Your Fridge Around 75% Full


When your refrigerator hits the just-right proportion of 75 percent full, your stored foods team up with your refrigerator in a really cool way. The foodstuff, cooled to a low temperature, actually helps maintain the chilly ecosystem of the fridge when the door is opened and warm air rushes in. But be careful! Overstuffing limits air circulation, causing the unit to work with less efficiency.



2. Set Temperatures to That Goldilocks Level


Most refrigerators should be set between 37 and 40 degrees in the main section, and 0 to 5 degrees in the freezer. If you keep your food too warm, you can lose the cooling effect described in tip #1. If you cool your food too much, you are losing out on energy efficiency. In order to increase your refrigerator’s efficiency, check your owner’s manual to be sure these settings are appropriate for your unit.



3. Keep Up Your General Maintenance


Experts say that at least twice a year you should unplug your unit briefly to rid the condenser coils of dust. Once the unit is unplugged, use a long brush or the crevice attachment on your vacuum cleaner. If the condenser coils aren’t cleaned, the buildup of dust can keep heat from being dispelled and cause your unit to overheat.


Regular cleaning can dramatically increase the life of your refrigerator.


It is also important to keep the inside of your refrigerator clean. Everyone is familiar with those puddles of mystery food that form in our fridges over time; cleaning will keep your food odor-free and fresh-tasting. Every two months be sure to wipe down the inside of your refrigerator with a safe and effective baking soda and water solution.


Save Energy While Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

Holiday cooking is just around the corner, which means you’ll be spending more time and electricity than usual in the kitchen. Keep your Thanksgiving energy costs down by following these simple cooking tips.



Preparation Before Preheating


In-Text PreparationDo food washing, slicing, and final prep before turning on burners or preheating the oven. An empty hot burner or oven simply wastes energy, and many meat and vegetable dishes do not need a preheated stove. Lessen cooking time by defrosting foods fully in the refrigerator, but be sure to keep items covered during the process because excess moisture will force the appliance to work harder.



Save Energy with the Stovetop


In-Text Save EnergyBe sure to scrub your burners and drip pans before cooking, to help them reflect heat more effectively to your cookware. Match pots to the appropriate burner size. According to the website, if you put a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner, more than 40% of your heat is wasted. To help pots heat faster, don’t use larger sizes for smaller food amounts, and go for flat-bottomed cookware to get maximum contact with the burner. Copper-bottomed pans heat quickly, and cast iron pots can be used at a lower temperature setting than other metals. Whatever you use, keep the lids on while cooking to reduce heat loss and cooking time.



Make Room in the Oven


In-Text Make RoomFor side dishes, baking with ceramic or glass dishes allows you to set the oven temperature 25 degrees lower and will cook food just as quickly. If you have several dishes, put them in together to save time. Free moving air in the oven allows the appliance to run more efficiently, so stagger multiple items on upper and lower foil-free racks. Avoid unnecessary overcooking by using a food thermometer, but keep the door shut as much as possible (a 25-degree temp loss every time you open!) and use the oven light instead to check for readiness.



Choose Cooking Alternatives


In-Text Cooking AlternativesSmaller dishes can cook just as nicely in a microwave or toaster oven and save you up to two-thirds the energy of a full-size oven. A slow cooker uses considerably less wattage compared to an oven, so think about dishes that could be started early and left alone while you hustle around the kitchen. Pressure cookers are another useful item to reduce cooking time because the steam pressure cooks food at a higher temperature.



Time to Eat


In-Text Time to EatWith an electric stove, you can turn off the oven or stove top 5-10 minutes early, and the residual heat will keep cooking the food.  After pulling out your food, use the oven’s residual heat to reheat your guests’ dishes and keep them warm until you’re ready to gather everyone to the table.


Besides being thankful for delicious food that you can share with family, you can up the gratitude by taking easy steps to save energy during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season.