Small Kitchen Appliances – Small Green Energy-saving Machines
The idea is to use them frequently enough to offset the manufacturers cook-print and selecting models that, compared to their conventional counterparts, utilize less water, fuel or both.
The ‘greener’ appliances waste little fuel and are designed as closed systems with tight lids and heating systems that lock in any heat not allowing any to escape and instead heat the room thus ensuring efficiently cooked food complete with retained natural moisture. This does not however, justify the use of fad appliances like muffin makers, flowing chocolate fountains and electric fondue pots.
Cooking rice in an electric rice cooker rather than in a pot on the stove is the most energy efficient way of cooking rice as the conventional methods use two to three times more fuel whilst also heating up the kitchen. These cookers switch off automatically, can reheat cold rice perfectly and can keep rice hot for a long time and you can get models which you can steam vegetables or other grains in. If you do not eat enough rice to justify a rice cooker, you can cook your rice is a pressure cooker to save 50 percent of the energy you would use on a stove.
Another tip, which works with both of the above methods, is to soak rice for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking and this will save a further 7 to 18% of fuel.
Slow cookers are another green option and they are coming back into fashion. They consume less electricity than an incandescent light bulb and are good in the summer as well as the winter as they do not give off heat. Most newer models come with a removable pot (crock) which is heatproof so you do not need to move food into another pan if you just want to quickly brown something on the stove and the crock is usually dishwasher, microwave and freezer proof. Despite common misconception, slow cookers can cook much more than just soups and stews; you can use it to make anything from bean salads and roasted pecans to pasta sauces and lemon cheesecake.
To find out how much electricity a small appliance uses, have a look at the back, underside, label or owner’s manual to check the wattage which is the maximum power that the appliance is able to use and changing settings, like changing from high to low, can reduce this amount.
You can purchase inexpensive energy meters which you can plug into a wall socket and it shows you the amount of electricity being used both actively and in standby modes and some models can also calculate how much your usage costs in dollars if you enter in your rate.
Always remember to unplug appliances when you are not using them, not only to avoid phantom loads when measuring your usage, but also as it can be hazardous, costly and sometimes even detrimental to your appliance.
To estimate an appliance’s energy consumption, the Department of energy have provided this formula:
Wattage x hours used per day ÷ 1000 = Daily kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption
Using an electric fan as an example:
200 watts x 4 hours per day x 120 days per year ÷ 1000 = 96 kWh
You can then multiply this by the number of days that you use the appliance during the year to get an annual energy usage figure.
To calculate what the annual cost of running the appliance is, multiply the annual kWh by your local energy company’s rate per kWh consumed so using the fan example from above:
96kWh x 8.5 cents per kWh = $8.16 per year
Bear in mind however, that if you are calculating figures for a refrigerator, to estimate the time it operates for at maximum wattage, you need to divide the full usage time by three as although they seem ‘on’ for 24 hours, they actually have an on and off cycle to maintain interior temperatures whilst being energy efficient.
Many of us have unused appliances lying around the house that we do not use but imagine if a tax was introduced on our electric gadgets, what would you keep? Thrift shops are full of used appliances which can be old or new, quirky or conventional so why not try swapping some of your unused appliances for something useful that is a bit greener; you would not only be saving the money for buying a new one, you would de-clutter in your home, save the appliance from going to a landfill and be doing your bit for the environment.
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