How to Save Energy While Cooking

November 10, 2015

Fall and winter are times when people often cook the most in their homes. The holidays bring family—and events—into your home, many of which are focused on meals. So you will likely be cooking a lot—definitely more than you usually do. And all that cooking requires energy: running the oven, stove, and other appliances, filling your refrigerator and freezer with food. There are a number of steps you can take to save energy during these cooking-intensive times of the year.

 

Appliances

Your appliances use energy while you’re cooking, so it’s important to make sure that you’re using them as efficiently as possible.

  • Upgrade to energy saving appliances. Look for the blue ENERGY STAR® label on refrigerators, freezers, and dishwashers. These appliances work more efficiently and save energy—and money—providing you with ongoing savings.

 

  • Get the most out of your oven. Your oven is a large appliance, ideal for cooking substantial amounts of food. When you’re using your oven, don’t preheat it longer than you need to, as having an empty oven turned on is a waste of energy. To make the most out of all the heat your oven is capable of generating, cook double batches of food if you can. Keep it clean: a self-cleaning oven is more energy efficient because it's better insulated. If you have a self-cleaning oven, run its cleaning cycle once each month.

 

  • Make your stove work for you. Always match the burner size to the size of the pot or pan, this will ensure you're getting maximum heat applied to the pan's surface area. Keep the burner pans—the areas beneath the burner—clean because they reflect heat back up onto the pot or pan.

 

  • Use the right pots and pans. Pots and pans come in direct contact with burners, so using the right ones goes a long way to saving energy. When possible, try to use flat-bottomed pots and pans, not rounded—or warped—ones, as flat ones maintain better contact with burners. The type of metal a pan is made of can make it energy efficient as well. Copper or copper-bottom pots and pans heat up faster than stainless steel ones, and cast iron heats up more efficiently. Put lids on pots and pans to keep heat in them.

 

  • Use alternative appliances. If you’re reheating food, use a microwave or toaster oven, which are designed for this purpose and use less energy than a stove. If you’re making a one-pot meal like a stew or a soup, a slow-cooker is a good option, because it uses less energy than a stove.

 

These are some easy things you can do in your home to save energy while cooking. Think about the way the you cook and use appliances, and figure out other steps you can take to save energy—and money—while you cook in your home.

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