On average, electricity and gas use creates about a quarter of all carbon emissions from our homes, with more than half of our fuel bills related to providing heating and hot water in a typical UK household. One of the simplest ways to ensure you are being energy efficient in the kitchen – as in every other room in your house – is to ensure you’ve got a modern energy efficient boiler and heating controls. We have more information about updating the heating in your home on our site.
Beyond heating and hot water, the major kitchen food-based activities involve cooling things down (in fridges and freezers) and heating things up (with kettles, ovens and hobs). Cooking typically accounts for 13.8% of electricity demand in UK homes, with freezing or cooling food requiring a further 16.8% of electricity used on average.
In studies of household energy use, there’s a clear correlation between the size of the household and the amount of energy used. Unsurprisingly, single person households use less energy than a family of four. But a single person will not use half the amount of energy as a couple – it’s more energy efficient, not to mention sociable, to cook for more than one person at a time, as you can see from the table below from the 2011 Powering the Nation report.
And it’s not just cooking our fridges and freezers use the same energy to cool food, irrespective of how many people are at home.
But we can’t always have people over to dinner if we live alone. So how do we ensure we’re energy efficient in the kitchen?
1. Choose energy efficient products
One major step is to ensure we choose energy efficient appliances. The 2011 Powering the Nation report studied energy use in homes across the UK. At the time of the study, the households studied owned an average of 41 different electrical appliances – with some owning up to 85. Entertainment appliances such as iPads, TVs or laptops do not usually have energy labels but white goods, such as dishwashers, fridges and ovens, must display their energy efficiency rating by law.
The highest possible rating is A+++, the lowest for certain appliances will be F or G, with a considerable energy saving difference between them. In many cases, appliances such as cookers will all be rated A+ or higher. But older appliances are likely to be considerably less energy efficient. Watch our video for more information:
The Energy Saving Trust Register is an extensive database of energy efficient appliances. You can also check TopTen UK, which is a consumer platform that assesses the most energy-efficient products on the market.
2. Use the right size of appliance for your needs
Kitchen appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, fridges, kettles and cookers have become more energy efficient over the years, with the best models using less energy than 10 years ago. However, increases in size of the average fridge, fridge-freezer and washing machine drum have cancelled out some of the possible energy savings.
If all you keep in your fridge is a bottle of champagne and a lemon (yes, I’m looking at you) do you really need a full size fridge-freezer?
Please click here to visit the Energy Saving Trust website for tips!