Energy Efficiency: Cook More Efficiently

Sep 15, 2022

It’s important to be mindful of your cooking processes as they can significantly reduce the amount of energy you use and cut your energy bills while reducing your carbon emissions and your environmental impact on our planet.

While cooking is not among the top five of your home’s ‘energy-hungry routines,’ if it’s something you do every day then there are many small steps, and a few big ones you can take to decrease its impact on your energy use.

You might find that there are more benefits to energy-saving cooking than cost alone. Having a plan and finding ways to efficiently cook meals can save your sanity on weeknights, as well as give you more time away from the kitchen while still providing healthy, nourishing meals for the entire family.  – learn.compactappliance.com

Some tips for cooking with energy efficiency in mind are as follows:

Kitchen Appliances:

  • It’s important, if possible, to invest in energy efficient appliances. Learn more on this topic by reading our blog post on energy efficiency labels, ratings, and standards: Energy Efficiency: Look for the Label – BELCO.
  • Fitting your kitchen out with an induction stove top and convection oven is a great step to an eco-friendlier home.
  • A microwave is the most energy-efficient cooking appliance found in the kitchen, topping both an oven and a hob in terms of energy usage. They cook food extremely quicky and so don’t use as much energy. In fact, they are up to 80% more efficient than a conventional oven!
  • Slow cookers are a great oven-alternative to cook the foods that microwaves can’t. The average slow cooker can use on the highest energy setting for six hours and only use 1.26kW of energy. This is because these appliances use a low current and trap heat inside the pot to facilitate cooking.
  • Air fryers are also a great oven-alternative to cook foods that microwaves can’t because they don’t need any preheating and they cook most things within 5 minutes. Therefore, they are also an efficient way of cooking!

Using the right appliances for cooking is important but using your appliances the right way is also crucial. – chefspick.co.uk

Oven:

  • The main three types of ovens are: (1) gas ovens, which uses 2.5kWh of energy over an hour running at maximum; (2) electric ovens, which uses 2.0kWh of energy over an hour running at maximum; and (3) convection ovens, which uses 2.0kWh of energy over an hour running at maximum. As you can see, convection ovens use less energy per hour than gas ovens. What’s more, unlike electric ovens, these appliances have an additional fan and exhaust system. This helps to circulate the hot air and distribute the heat around the oven while cooking. By doing so, you can cook at lower temperatures and reduce cooking times when compared to electric ovens.
  • Cook as much as possible in the oven in one go to make sure all the space and heat is being used.
  • Keep the oven door closed while you’re cooking. Each time you open the door, the oven loses heat (sometimes as much as 25 degrees) and requires more energy to get back up to temperature. On a similar note, try to keep the oven door clean so you can look in, rather than having to open it to see how your food is doing.
  • When using an electric oven, turn it off ten minutes before the food is finished cooking. The oven temperature will remain the same so the food will still cook through to completion without the oven using energy.

Stove Top:

  • Undeniably, cooking using a stove top uses far less energy than cooking in an oven. This is because when cooking in an oven you’re not just heating the food and the dish that you’re using, you’re also heating up the entire oven itself. This takes up extra energy and electricity.
  • When talking about kitchen cooktops, there are three main types available: (1) Gas stove, which uses 1.95 kWh on average; (2) Electric (ceramic) stove, which uses 1.50 kWH on average; and (3) Induction stove, which uses 1.95 KWH on average. Looking at these figures alone, you might think an electric stove top is the most efficient option. However, induction cooktops are far superior to both gas and electric stoves. This is because the cooking rings of induction cooktops don’t heat up themselves. Instead, they use an electromagnetic field to heat the pans directly. Therefore, 84% of the heat generated is used for cooking, compared to just 74% efficiency for gas and ceramic stove tops.
  • Similarly, when you’ve selected your pan, make sure you use the right size burner for it. A bigger burner will waste energy and a pan that’s too big will take longer to get to the right temperature.
  • Turn down the level of the ring or burner once the cooking temperature or state is reached; most dishes need to simmer, not boil.
  • If you’re using an electric stove top, choose flat-bottomed pans so the pan is in full contact with the ring and the heat spreads through it as evenly as possible.
  • Keep heating rings as clean as possible – any food that sticks to the ring will absorb heat, making it less efficient.

However, appliances are only part of the equation! Here are some other considerations for energy-efficient cooking you can use to keep costs down.

Cookware:

  • You should always use cookware that is the right size for the food you’re cooking. Otherwise, additional energy has to be used to heat up a larger than necessary pan and the excess water within in.
  • Material is important as well. When choosing oven dishes, glass and ceramic cookware is best. Both of these materials are slower to heat than metal but hold heat for a long time, helping food to cook more quickly. On the other hand, copper is a great option for pots and pans. It heats up more quickly than metals such as stainless steel, reducing cooking time on the stove top and improving efficiency.
  • Whenever you cook on the stove, always ensure you put a lid on the pot as well. By covering your pots and pans, you’re helping to trap the heat inside the pan

Water:

  • Use the kettle to boil water quickly and transfer to a pan on the stove for steaming and boiling vegetables or pasta.
  • When using water to boil anything in a pan, make sure that you only use as much water as is needed to cover the amount of food you’re cooking – one of the most common forms of energy wastage is the energy it takes to boil water you don’t need

Food:

  • A great way to reduce your energy usage is to cook food in bulk. For example, cooking a lot of food at once in your oven means you can use more of the energy to cook food and less to heat empty oven space. You can then freeze or refrigerate leftovers and reheat them using your microwave – the most energy-efficient appliance of them all.
  • Defrost frozen food in the fridge overnight or while you’re at work during the day. Defrosting food in advance not only typically halves the cooking time but also means that you don’t need to use the energy of a microwave to defrost more quickly.
  • When cooking potatoes, boil them in a saucepan before roasting them in order to reduce the amount of time they take to cook in the oven.
  • If you’re cooking large food like a joint of meat, it can be worth cutting it into smaller pieces so it will cook more quickly.
  • Use a double steamer to cook vegetables so you can layer vegetables on top of each other and still use one ring.

Taking simple steps to save energy when cooking probably will not save hundreds in energy bills every month. However, with these small changes, your savings will quickly add up over time. – learn.compactappliance.com

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