Keeping your kitchen energy efficient
As UK consumers continue to feel the pinch of the cost of living crisis, more and more people are looking for ways to save money without having to completely give up their lifestyles. The skyrocketing price of food and energy means that the kitchen is a key area to focus on for people looking to cut costs.
In this guide, we’re going to share tips for being more energy efficient in the kitchen. As well as helping you to save money in both the short- and long-term, these steps will also help you to reduce your carbon footprint and make your kitchen more environmentally friendly.
How energy efficient are your appliances?
When looking to improve the energy efficiency of your kitchen, it’s important to first assess its current condition. This will give you a good idea of which areas you need to address.
Uswitch has a useful appliance cost calculator that can help you to estimate what you’re spending on energy in your kitchen and throughout your home. We’ve also put together some tips below to help you determine how energy efficient your kitchen is, and what you can do to improve it.
What is an ‘energy efficient’ appliance?
An energy efficient appliance is one that is designed to use less electricity while still performing to the expected standard. By reducing the amount of energy consumed, they are cheaper to run than regular appliances, and have a smaller impact on the environment.
As the cost of energy continues to increase, consumers are looking to embrace more energy efficient appliances, helping to cut down on their energy bills. In response to this demand, as well as their responsibility to meet government legislation, manufacturers have ramped up the development and production of energy efficient products over recent years. This gives consumers more choice, and helps to boost the corporate image of appliance manufacturers.
How do you identify an energy efficient appliance?
Large white goods like fridges, freezers, dishwashers and ovens are sold with an energy efficiency rating from A–G. These types of kitchen appliances tend to be in use for long periods of time, meaning that energy efficiency is an extremely important consideration for their long-term running costs. The newer the device, the more likely it is to be energy efficient, as EU directives such as Label 2020 have encouraged manufacturers to make their products more environmentally friendly.
Smaller appliances such as kettles and toasters aren’t rated for efficiency in the same way, as they tend to be run for short periods of time. To get an idea of how much energy they use, take a look at the wattage; the higher the wattage, the more energy is required to power the device. Comparing like-for-like appliances can give you an idea of their efficiency.
Which kitchen appliances use the most energy?
Price comparison brand Uswitch conducted research into which household appliances have the biggest impact on energy bills based on average use. Here are the kitchen appliances that use the most energy, and the average cost per of running them per year:
- Tumble dryer – £89.44
- Electric hob – £86.89
- Kettle – £85.86
- Freezer – £76.78
- Fridge-freezer – £67.56
- Pressure cooker – £46.37
- Fridge – £45.68
- Dishwasher – £39.57
- Washing machine – £35.66
- Air fryer – £34.06
- Iron – £38.60
- Electric/fan oven – £27.05
- Microwave – £22.90
Which kitchen appliances are the least energy efficient?
There isn’t a straightforward answer to the question of which kitchen appliances are the least energy efficient. Those that use a higher wattage often do so for shorter periods of time, so they can be more efficient than using a lower-wattage appliance for a longer period of time. For example, even though it causes a larger surge of energy, using a kettle to boil water often uses less electricity than heating the same amount of water in a pan on the stove.
Identifying the kitchen appliances that use the most electricity on an annual basis shows you where you can make the biggest cost savings. By focusing on the energy-hungry devices and replacing them with more efficient models, you should be able to make a difference in your energy bills in the long term. However, it’s important to remember that any savings will be offset by the purchase price of any new appliance.
Which kitchen appliances are the most energy efficient?
Similarly, it’s hard to give a blanket statement about which appliances are the most energy efficient. When we look at the Uswitch statistics above, fridges and freezers are on the more expensive side when it comes to annual running costs. However, they tend to be on 24/7, so the cost works out to less than a penny per hour of use. Compare this to an iron, which costs an average of £38.60 per year, or 85p per hour. If your iron was switched on all day, you’d certainly notice it in your energy bills.
Another consideration in energy efficiency is the age of the appliance. Advancements in manufacturing techniques and environmental concerns mean that modern equipment tends to be better designed in terms of energy efficiency. If you have a lot of older appliances, it could be worth replacing them with new models, particularly if you’ve noticed a drop in performance.
How can I save energy in the kitchen?
Many of the appliances in your kitchen are ones that are fairly essential to modern life and are used regularly. This means that completely going without them isn’t always practical. By focusing on being more energy efficient in the kitchen, you can still enjoy your favourite modern conveniences while also doing your bit for the environment – and saving money on your energy bills, too.
Here are some top tips for saving energy in the kitchen.
Replace your appliances with energy efficient models
As we saw above, UK households are spending hundreds of pounds every year just to run their kitchen appliances. If you’re able to, replacing your existing appliances with new, more efficient models can help you to save money in the long term.
However, be wary of spending hundreds of pounds on a new purchase if it’s only going to save you a few pounds per year. It can be more cost effective to wait until a device breaks down and needs to be replaced than to switch out working appliances.
Use your appliances efficiently
Whether you replace your appliances or not, making sure to use them efficiently can help you to use less energy. For example, don’t overfill kettles and pans when boiling water. This means that you only spend energy heating the water you actually need. Similarly, don’t leave your oven on to pre-heat for longer than necessary. Put the food in as soon as it’s up to temperature.
When using your washer and dryer, choose options like ‘eco wash’ or low temperature cycles, and avoid settings such as ‘intensive’ or ‘extra dry’ for your everyday loads. During warm or dry weather, hang your clothes out to dry instead of using the tumble dryer.
Upgrade your lighting
Energy efficient LED spotlights can help to minimise energy expenditure on lighting, and also give you the option of only switching on the lights in certain areas of the kitchen. Under-cabinet lighting can also help to illuminate worktops so you can see clearly while you’re cooking without having to fully light the entire kitchen.
Remember the basics
Just like the rest of your home, you can save energy in the kitchen by switching off the lights when you’re not in the room and closing doors to keep in the heat during the colder months. If your energy supplier offers an off-peak tariff, you can take advantage of the savings by running your dishwasher, washer or dryer at night. You might also like to install a smart meter to give you a better picture of how much you’re spending and when.