The light fixtures in your kitchen are a big contributor to your energy cost, especially during the night. Install ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures or replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). According to ENERGY STAR, their qualified lighting provides bright, warm light while using 75% less energy, generating 70% less heat and lasting up to 10 times longer than standard lighting. Remember to always turn off your lights when leaving the room.
If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen, think of ways to bring in natural lighting. Make windows wider, knock down walls, add skylights or put in French doors to connect to another room. This will allow the sun to illuminate your kitchen at no additional cost.
The refrigerator is the appliance that consumes the most energy. When choosing a fridge be sure to also find a product with the ENERGY STAR symbol as these qualified refrigerator models use at least 20% less energy than required by current federal standards.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should replace your fridge if it’s more than 10 years old. Also, don’t purchase a fridge that’s larger than what you need; you’ll just be wasting more energy.
Refrigerators with the freezer on the top or bottom are more efficient than side-by-side models. Be sure to leave space between the refrigerator and walls to allow air movement.
Most dishwashers today can thoroughly clean dishes that have had food scraped, rather than rinsed, off — the wash cycle and detergent take care of the rest. To make the most efficient use of your dishwasher's energy and water consumption, run the dishwasher only when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load and use the air-dry option. Try running short cycles for everything but the dirtiest dishes.
Using the wrong sized pot on a stove burner can waste as much 40 percent of the burner's heat and can cost approximately $36 more annually for an electric range, or $18 more annually for gas. Be sure to cover pots and pans. This will ensure you cook more efficiently and keep your kitchen cooler.
You may want to consider selecting a natural gas oven or range which is far more efficient than electricity. Keep the burners clean to ensure maximum efficiency. Blue flames mean good combustion; yellow flames mean service may be needed to ensure the gas is burning efficiently.
Use small appliances when you can. If you use a toaster oven rather than a full-size oven you will save energy. In addition, using a microwave oven versus a full range oven or stove will save you money because the heating time is far less.
For information on 2011 Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency go to http://www.energystar.gov.