Energy saving has captured the public imagination for two main reasons. The global recessive trend of the last five years has made everyone rethink and re-budget their spending behavior. In addition, mankind is facing an ecological disaster of huge proportions caused by global warming. Much of this damage is being caused by carbon emission that can be traced back to indiscriminate use of energy. With reduced budgets and the growing consciousness of individual responsibility to address the global warming crisis, people are looking at ways to reduce their energy consumption. One of the key areas for energy consumption in modern homes is the kitchen. Here are some ways that you can save energy while you are cooking.
1. Use Room Temperature
Many people have the habit of taking out items from the refrigerator at the last minute and then heating it up. Similarly, people also put items that are still warm or even hot into the refrigerator. This results in wastage of energy. Instead, plan ahead so that you can allow the hot and cold items to come to room temperature. The only thing you will spend in this is time and forethought. A common example would be thawing frozen food using the microwave when you can do it by just leaving it in a lower shelf of the refrigerator the previous night, and then leaving it out for a while before using it.
2. Tweak Bake Time and Temp
Set the oven to 5 or 10 degrees less than recommended and increase the baking time by 5 or 10 minutes. The recipe will still come out just fine, but you would have saved a lot of energy.
3. Upgrade Your Appliances
Older electrical appliances tend to consume more power because they were not designed keeping energy efficiency in mind. In addition, as appliances age, they tend to waste some amount of power due to old circuits, wires, and connectors. Make a plan and gradually upgrade all your old appliances to newer energy efficient ones, preferably with certified energy efficiency ratings.
4. Use Appropriate Tools
Donât use the oven to warm up small amounts of food or to toast bread; use a microwave or a toaster instead. Similarly, donât use large containers to heat up small amounts of food. Heating the container will consume most of the energy in such instances.
5. Use the Entire Oven Space
Try and plan your meals and your cooking in such a way that you donât end up using the oven to bake just one dish. Try and see if you can use the baking time to get other things done that need heat. You can warm up dinner rolls; make croutons, and dry herbs while baking a main dish. Of course, you will want to be careful not to do things that can transfer unwanted aromas to the other items in the oven at the same time.
6. Cook Larger Quantities
Make a menu plan that lets you cook larger quantities at the same time. You can freeze most prepared dishes and microwave them before eating. The energy saving on this can be substantial.
7. Cover Your Cooking Container
Heat generated during cooking can be wasted if you cook without lids. Always put a lid on when cooking as this will prevent heat dissipation while letting you finish your cooking faster.
8. Keep Your Utensils Clean
You will be surprised at how much energy is wasted because of poorly maintained cooking utensils. The layer of grime that collects on the bottoms of utensils hogs the heat that could have been used for cooking the food. In addition, these layers also hamper efficient transmission of heat into the container. The same wastage takes place in ovens that are not clean. Keep your utensils energy efficient by regular and diligent cleaning.
9. Make Innovative Use of Heat
Look for ways that you can use eat in innovative ways. During the colder season, keep the bulk of your heat producing cooking work for the coolest part of the day. This way you can save energy by letting the heat of cooking warm the house up and keep the thermostat a couple of degrees lower. You can also consider ways of multi-tasking, like getting eggs boiled or vegetables blanched in the water you are boiling for pasta.
10. Keep Your Freezer Full
A half empty freezer actually causes wastage of energy compared to a full one. Not only will you benefit from saving money by buying frozen products in bulk, but you will save energy keeping it frozen too.
11. Use Natural Energy
Instead of using the drier in your dishwasher, turn it off after the wash and drain cycle and let the dishes dry in natural air.
12. Use Planning to Save Cooking Time
Soak items like lentils, rice, and beans ahead of cooking so that they cook faster. Most beans and lentils can be soaked the previous night, while rice can be soaked a couple of hours prior to when you are going to cook it.