DIY Energy-Saving Kitchen Design in 4 Steps

kitchen-691247_640Kitchen appliances are some of the most electricity-hungry devices in the home. Even seemingly small appliances like toaster ovens consume a surprising 0.75 kWh every hour. If a new kitchen renovation is in your future, or you’d like to start saving on your electricity bill every month, follow these five tip to make sure the kitchen consumes as little energy as possible.

1. Plan

Before starting a big, exciting project, it’s hard to stop and plan exactly what to do at each  step. However, to save energy and reduce waste, it is crucial. Decide what absolutely must be replaced, and what can simply be refinished or repainted to work in the new space. For anything that needs to be discarded, consider using eBay or Craigslist instead of simply dropping off recyclables at Goodwill, where they still might end up in a landfill.

2. Layout

The goal here is to make the kitchen easy to move around in while cooking. Any barriers in the cook’s path will be an annoyance. Draw a triangle between the sink/dishwasher, oven, and fridge. This is the primary path that will be followed every day. Alternatively, draw a sequence of lines that represent the path made while making coffee or cooking a meal. Lots of crossovers indicate that a redesign might be needed.

3. Choosing the Oven

Gas is far superior to electric ovens for a number of reasons. First, gas oven technology has not changed much, so older models are still efficient. Second, electricity doesn’t have to travel to a gas oven. A whopping 70% of energy is lost while in transit to consumer homes, making gas an excellent choice for the environment. Induction ovens are the best choice for those who don’t have access to gas ovens. Additionally, ovens with quadruple-glazed glass on the door tra heat much better, increasing efficiency.

4. Choosing the Fridge and Dishwasher

A newer fridge and dishwasher is definitely better for the environment, as these appliances have become much more energy efficient over the years. Still, refrigerators account for 17% of home electricity consumption. Luckily, these appliances are rated for their energy efficiency, which makes it easy to choose one. However, there are a couple things to keep in mind. For instance, side-by-side fridges often have a separate rating for the fridge and freezer. Freezers are also more energy efficient if they are on top of the fridge. For dishwashers and fridges, size is also an important factor. Larger appliances still tend to use more energy and water than smaller ones, even if the larger has a better energy rating.

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