Gallery: 7 Smart and Easy Tips to Green Your Kitchen

 

TIP 1: Pay attention to your appliances

One of the reasons that it's so easy to make an impactful difference on the overall energy-efficiency of your kitchen is that some of your home's largest appliances are located there. Here are a few quick tips to ensure that you're getting the most out your kitchen appliances and utilizing them in the most energy-efficient manner: Dishwasher Despite what might seem like the logical conclusion, using a dishwasher (especially an Energy Star-rated one) has been shown to be more energy-efficient than handwashing - as long as you follow a few rules. First, make sure that you only run the dishwasher when it's full. If you've only got one plate or a few forks in there, it's most likely going to save more water to wash those by hand. Secondly, don't pre-rinse your dishes in the sink. This step was necessary in the past but most modern dishwashers are powerful enough that they can remove food residue without pre-rinsing, so skipping this step will save you a lot of water and energy (not to mention time!). Next, unless you for some reason desire very hot plates, use the air-dry setting instead of the heated setting to cut down on the electricity used in each run. Lastly, while we usually encourage repair over replacement, if your dishwasher is more than 10 years old, it's most likely best that you upgrade to an Energy Star-rated model. On average, Energy Star-rated dishwashers are 10% more energy efficient and 20% more water efficient than standard models and you can save about $40/year on electricity by upgrading. To see all of these tips in video form, check out this informative video from AOL. Refrigerator Even if you went out of the way to purchase an energy-efficient fridge, you might be sabotaging your decision by not using it properly. One common mistake is setting the temperature too low. You can check your owner's manual to determine the optimal temperature range (usually around 36°-38°F), but if you notice that some of your food is super cold or even frozen, you should turn your temp down a bit or reserve those "cold zones" for more spoilage-prone foods. Remember that for every degree below 38°F, your unit consumes 5% more energy; so if you have it set to 36°F now and it's too cold, consider raising it a few degrees. Another easy tip is to use glass tupperware. Glass is not only more long-lasting than plastic or foil, but it also provides a better insulating barrier that keeps food and beverages colder. Lastly, make sure that you clean your refrigerator coils (located behind and sometimes underneath it) every year or so by unplugging the unit, moving it away from the wall and simply vacuuming them. The dustier and dirtier your coils, the less efficient your fridge's fan will be, so help it out by keeping the coils clean.

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8 Comments

  1. greenisgood2 September 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    One fun way to green your kitchen, is to grow a pet TickleMe Plant and watch how the leaves fold together when you Tickle It.
    The TickleMe Plant is real and easy to grow.

  2. anhsmith September 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I am going to make the Triage Box when I get home from work! I hate hate hate throwing food away and I think this will help.

  3. Alyssa Alimurung September 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Love the triage box and foot pedals!

  4. Andrew Michler September 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Just heard how foot pedals for the sink are the best way to save water in a busy kitchen.

  5. mollcott September 11, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Foot pedal faucets sound like an awesome idea!! Great tip!

  6. Jill Fehrenbacher September 11, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Love the triage box!!!!!

  7. Kristine Lofgren September 11, 2012 at 11:13 am

    The triage system is so smart! Great ideas.

  8. Diane Pham September 11, 2012 at 11:05 am

    great tips. love the triage box idea. nothing more depressing than finding yummy cheese rotting in the darkest corner of your fridge….

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