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Kitchen

Saving Energy in Your Kitchen

The kitchen is a well-used room in most homes and a place where lots of energy can be saved.

Recommendations for Reducing Kitchen Energy Usage

  • Use a microwave or convection oven instead of a conventional oven. A microwave uses half of the electricity of a typical electric oven, and a convection oven uses 20% less.
  • Pressure cookers and crock pots can greatly reduce cooking time for meals, and these approaches lower the amount of energy used for cooking compared to traditional electric resistance or gas stovetop or oven. These types of appliances also do not generate nearly as much waste heat as a traditional cooking methods, contributing less heat to the living space so you need less air conditioning to counteract cooking waste heat in summer months.
  • Use cold water to operate the garbage disposal; it saves energy and better disposes of grease.
  • Put a pan on a burner before you turn the burner on.
  • Ensure pans have flat bottoms and tight-fitting lids.
  • Consider the time of day when you run the dishwasher; in summer, you’ll save on air conditioning if you wait to run the dishwasher until nighttime, when your home has less of a cooling load.

Refrigerators and Freezers

RefrigeratorRefrigerators run year-round and can be a source of high electricity use in your home.

  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer set to energy-efficient temperatures to avoid high bills. Set refrigerators to 37 – 40˚F so they can work at peak efficiency; set freezers to 0 - 5˚F. Keeping temperature ranges 10 degrees lower than recommended can increase energy usage by as much as 25%.
  • Validate your refrigerator temperature with a thermometer placed in a glass of water at the center of the shelf.
  • Understand when your refrigerator is running and how much energy it uses; BED and the Fletcher Free Library have meters you can borrow to learn more. 
  • A full refrigerator and freezer will use less energy than a partially full one. Plastic jugs filled with water work great to fill in the empty space.
  • Locate your refrigerator in the coolest spot in the kitchen, and ensure your refrigerator has adequate clearance for proper air flow between the unit and the wall.
  • Keep the exterior equipment clean by periodically brushing off compressor coils and vacuuming behind and underneath the unit to prevent build-up of dust and pet hair. Dirty coils require the refrigerator to work harder and use more energy.
  • If your refrigerator is equipped with a door heater that is used to prevent condensation, there may be an ‘energy saver’ or ‘energy efficiency mode’ setting that you can activate to turn off the door heater. These small electric heaters are sometimes built into the walls of refrigerators and make the refrigerators work harder. Unless you have noticeable moisture collecting inside your fridge during the hottest part of the summer, keep the switch on the energy saving setting and save about $3 per month.
  • Shut the fridge door! Keeping the door open while you load in groceries or choose a snack causes the compressor to run more, and actually will result in a warmer kitchen overall.

Buying Refrigerators

  • A used refrigerator may seem attractive as they can quite inexpensive, but life cycle costs for second-hand equipment can be surprisingly high. Did you know that a typical pre-1990s 18-cubic-foot refrigerator will consume about $1,500 to $2,000 worth of electricity during the course of its 20-year life?
  • ENERGY STAR-labeled refrigerators use 60% less energy than traditional options, so lower your future bills by opting out of buying a used fridge. It is less expensive to replace your older fridge with a new, high-efficiency model and finance the expense for a few years rather than buying a much less expensive energy guzzler. The savings on the electric bill can offset the monthly finance charge.
  • Refrigerator configuration greatly affects the efficiency of the appliance. Refrigerators with top or bottom freezers are typically much more energy efficient than a side-by-side door model, with the freezer on one side and the refrigerated section on the other.

REBATE: Refrigerators (For Rentals Only)

The residential refrigerator rebate has changed from a mail-in/online rebate to an instant discount from your retailer. Be sure to ask your retailer about efficient products eligible for these discounts so you can get the most out of your purchase.

Dishwashers

Dishwasher
  • Equipped with advanced features that boost efficiency and cleaning performance, ENERGY STAR-certified dishwashers can cut water usage by 15% and energy consumption by 5% - 55%; you’ll save closer to the high end of the range if you wash with cold water or if you’re replacing an older machine. Dishwashers designated as Most Efficient deliver increased energy savings.
    • A traditional dishwasher may cost $75 a year to run, while an ENERGY STAR dishwasher costs $40 less per year: $35 a year to run, and will save 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime.
  • Select low-heat or no-heat drying options to minimize the operation of the electric heating element, which contributes the most to energy use.
  • Only run the dishwasher when there is a full load.
  • The amount of energy your dishwasher consumes during the washing cycle is dependent on the temperature setting of your water heater. A more efficient water heater allows your dishwasher to work less hard.

Purchasing Dishwashers

  • A used dishwasher may seem attractive, but life cycle costs for second-hand equipment can be surprisingly high.
  • Read the yellow EnergyGuide label to understand potential operating costs and compare efficiencies and annual costs of different machines.
  • Size your dishwasher appropriately for your home. Running a compact-capacity model multiple times uses more energy than running a standard-capacity model once.
  • Select a model with several wash cycle options so you can choose a light or energy-saving wash cycle when your loads are lighter or less soiled.

Stovetops

  • Consider replacing your stovetop or range with an electric induction product. Electric induction stovetops can be more efficient at converting electricity to heat when compared to 74% efficiency for traditional electric stoves and 40% efficiency for gas ranges; they are least efficient when cookware is not well-matched to the size of the burner. Induction stovetops offer the instant heat adjustability of natural gas, easy clean-up, with the added safety advantage of a cool surface. Cost of this technology is decreasing and is becoming cost-competitive with natural gas cooktops and ranges.

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