Making green choices often has to do with simple wisdom
Before moving into the kitchen for a look at how to conserve energy, let's take a look at the topic of home energy saving in general.
"The most effective strategy for improving household energy efficiency is to first target your home's envelope—walls, attic, windows, and doors. Then reduce the energy consumption of systems, such as heating, cooling, lighting and appliances."
This common sense approach is presented in an article featured in Green Home Guide, by Harvey Sachs, Ph.D., director of the Buildings Program for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Dr. Sachs' article gives tips for general home applicability, with a particular zinger for kitchens:
Keep One Refrigerator Running at a Time
"If you are thinking of buying a new refrigerator, don't leave the old one plugged in, in the basement, as a backup for party supplies and liquid refreshment. Electricity to operate the old one isn't free – figure an extra $50-$150 per year to run it… Think about how much refrigeration you really need. The best rule is to have only one refrigerator, and to size it to meet your real needs. That allows the luxury of ice-makers and similar convenience with a clear conscience."
Switch to CFLs
Another tip for greener kitchens includes replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact flourescent lamps (CFLs). Wikipedia tells us that CFLs use less power and have a longer rated life than incandescent lamps, suggesting that a CFL can save over $30 in electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime compared to an incandescent. In terms of the light spectrum issue, CFLs are now meeting similar spectrum and color standards of the incandescent variety, with "soft white" glows.
Making green choices often has to do with simple wisdom. Another contributor for Green Home Guide, designer Erika Doering, speaks to this when she says, "Consider whether you need all the things marketing and cultural trends tempt us with. A second dishwasher, separate refrigerators and freezer units, oversized restaurant-style applicances – do they warrant the real estate they occupy or the energy and resources they consume?"
These simple tips for a more energy efficient kitchen can be implemented during a remodeling project, or independently. Simply replacing items that consume a lot of energy, or resisting the urge to purchase extra appliances and gadgets, can constitute an upgraded kitchen in the green sense of intelligent conservation of resources – both yours and the earth's.
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