The DOE and EPA use the energy star program to promote the sell of eco-friendly kitchen appliances. Most of us have seen the yellow stickers with the energy star logo, but do you know what those stickers mean? For an appliance to qualify for an Energy Star, it must utilize between 10% and 66% less energy and / or water, than other models. However, it can not compromise the quality of the appliance or dismiss added features. This is one of the best ways to know the most eco-friendly appliances, and which use the least amount of energy. However, here are some additional tips on things to look for in appliances:
Stoves & Ovens
Induction – A cast iron or stainless steel pot is placed above the induction coil of the stove. This excites the molecules in the pot, and produces heat. Note: the process does not work with glass pots, and aluminum lessens the efficiency. Induction cooking is not only more energy efficient, but faster too. The induction cooker only heats the pot directly over it. It does not heat the air, or stove surface around it. Induction cooking has an efficiency rate of 84%. Typical gas cookers are around 40%. This is one of my favorite eco-friendly kitchen appliances.
Hybrid Solar Ovens- Solar ovens reach temperatures of around 400 degrees. Total solar ovens do not require any electrical energy. They solely rely on the suns solar energy. A Hybrid version works on the same principle, but has an electric backup, for when solar use in not available.
Fridge and Freezer
Side by side refrigerators use about 10% more energy than a top and bottom option. Avoid ice makers, as they use electricity to produce ice. Also, avoid automatic defrosters and heaters. A refrigerator accounts for about 15% of your total electric bill. So, if you can not buy all of your eco-friendly kitchen appliances at one time, get this one first. Read the yellow and black "energy guide label." It will tell you how much energy each brand and model uses.
Dishwashers use about a sixth of the water and soap, and about half of the energy, that washing by hand does. Look for a dishwasher that has a booster heater & on / off for electric dryer feature. You may think that the smaller motor will lessen the energy usage, but going with a larger motor will keep the dishwasher from running a second cycle. Smaller motors do no have the spray power to clean heavy soiled dishes. Also, look for water efficient models. Some of these use half the water of a regular dishwasher and have auto sensors, that determine how dirty dishes are.
Keep in mind- the price of eco-friendly kitchen appliances may be higher, but it will not take long to recoup the additional cost of the appliance. In 2006, energy star appliances saved consumers fourteen billion dollars on utility bills. Energy guide labels are required on all appliances. So, take advantage of the information, and compare several brands and models. Also, ask about federal tax credits for upgrading to energy star appliances.