Thursday, October 14, 2010
Tips to Save Money & Energy: Kitchen Edition
Today while I was in my kitchen I got to thinking about how my first kitchen looked and how things have changed since that time. I have tried to find ways to save money and energy wherever possible. Here are some tips that work for me:
Eliminate Paper Wherever Possible--For our family, we don't use any paper products. We don't use paper napkins, paper plates, or paper towels. Instead, we use real dishes, cloth napkins, and cloth rags. Our rags consist of old, bleached, or ragged bathroom towels, and cut up t-shirts. I just keep a pile under my kitchen sink and wash them with my other kitchen towels and cloth napkins.
Ditch the Electronic Can Opener-- This is one of the easiest energy savers I know. Instead of using an electronic can opener, invest in a manual one that turns easily. I can open a can manually in the same time my electronic can opener can. Ditch the can opener; not only will you save energy, you'll also get a tiny little forearm work out.
Turn off the Heat--When washing dishes in the dishwasher, do not select the Heat Dry option after your wash cycle. Your dishes will still dry and you'll save yourself a little money on your electric bill. Also, in the winter, you can open up your dishwasher after the wash cycle and let that steam heat your home. And always wait until your dishwasher is full to run it to save on energy and water.
Choose Your Energy Wisely--Invest in a toaster/convection oven. Not only does it save having to heat up an entire oven for something small, it also runs off electricity. If you have selected to have your electricity provided by wind energy (as I'm sure you all have), you can rest easy knowing that your energy used is not harming the environment.
Make your own foaming hand wash/dish soap-- Can't take credit here, I learned this one from my mom. Reuse a foaming hand wash bottle by filling it 1/4 full with dish soap and the remainder with water. I have been refilling the above Tone bottle for well over a year and it is still going strong. This is a great way to save on liquid hand soap in the kitchen.
Bottle It Up-- Whenever possible bottle your own tap water instead of purchasing bottled water. (This works for me, it does not work for my husband). Also, if you have the ability, when selecting a refrigerator, purchase one that has a built in water filtration system. That way you will have filtered water whenever you would like, without having to purchase a filtration system. We were lucky enough to move in to a house that already had a fridge like this and it is awesome.
Every Little Bit Counts--To avoid wasting water, when making tea, measure the amount of water needed by the actual tea cup you plan on using. You will save the energy used to heat unnecessary water, and you will use all of the water in the kettle. Better yet, heat your water in the microwave, which is much more energy efficient.
Unplug-- Unplug all of your appliances after use as they use up phantom energy. This will also prevent them from being harmed if you were to have the misfortune of a power surge.
Put a lid on it--When boiling water, if you put a lid on the pot, your water will boil quicker. Additionally, when baking, use the oven light to check progress instead of opening the oven door. This will allow your oven to use residual heat, instead of having to heat up again after you check your food.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind--Keep your recycle bin next to your trash bin, so it is unavoidable. It has been my experience that if your recycling is out of sight, more recyclable material will wind up in the trash.