There are many ways to use less energy when cooking and storing food and cleaning up afterward. It needn’t be more difficult or take more time.
An energy-efficient dishwasher can actually use less water and energy than doing the dishes by hand, but only if you use it efficiently.
Choose a dishwasher that allows you to eliminate the heated drying cycle and dry by air instead, or turn your machine off before that phase.
Save water by using the dishwasher’s rinse-and-hold function instead of rinsing dishes before you load them into the machine.
Wash only full loads.
Use hot water from your hot-water system if it’s gas or solar, and run the dishwasher at its lower temperature settings.
Use a detergent with low environmental impact. Alternatively, replace up to 50 percent of a standard detergent with washing soda.
Saving energy when cooking
Allow frozen food to defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
Where appropriate, use small appliances, such as pressure cookers, toaster ovens, and electric teapots.
Match the size of pots to the size of a hot plate or burner—turn down the burner if flames are lapping up the side of the pan.
Keep reflectors under burners clean.
Use the minimum amount of water when boiling or steaming.
Where possible, cook more than one item in the oven at the same time.
Leave the oven door shut. When you open the oven door, the temperature can drop by as much as 59°F. It takes more energy to restore the correct temperature.
Microwave ovens use less energy than conventional ovens. Convection ovens use less than conventional ones, but more than microwaves.
ON DISHWASHING MACHINES A dishwasher saves barely one minute in clean up time. According to the industry, this is because people needlessly scour the dishes before placing them in the machine. Or they take advantage of the convenience to use more dishes.
Locate refrigerators in cool spots—not in the sun, nor next to the oven.
Ensure good circulation around the coils and dust them regularly.
Keep the refrigerator defrosted to enable maximum efficiency.
Keep the door seals clean and in good condition. (To test your seal, try closing the door on a sheet of paper. If you can pull it out easily, the seal is not working properly.)
Run the fridge between 37°F and 41°F. Freezers should run at a temperature of between 5°F and 0°F. Every degree lower costs 5 percent more in running costs and greenhouse gas pollution.
Shut that door! Be quick when you open the refrigerator door, as the longer it is open, the more it will warm up.
Cut the chances of ice forming inside the fridge by covering all liquids.