The kitchen is the busiest room in the house. It is often the social hub of a home, and it is the space that is most likely to be remodeled repeatedly over the course of a home’s life. The kitchen also has the greatest concentration of energy consumption, accounting for an average of 20 to 40 percent of house consumption. When upgrading a kitchen, consider adding energy saving features to the design to save money in the long run. Here are some kitchen upgrades and areas we operate in Good Guys kitchens Suggest cutting costs in your new kitchen.
New appliances are the most popular item when upgrading a kitchen. Devices are an easy way to incorporate energy-saving elements into the design. Most modern devices are rated an energy star, which means they use less power than their predecessors, which can help you lower the cost of your electric bill over time.
When deciding on a new refrigerator, it is important to know what size you need for your home. For example, if there is only a husband and wife in the home, they don’t need a large 4 foot wide refrigerator. You will be fine with a 36-inch or even a 30-inch refrigerator depending on how you buy your groceries. It costs a lot more to keep a large, 4-foot built-in refrigerator running if you don’t even fill half of it. Make sure the size of the refrigerator you choose suits your family’s needs.
The best way to save energy with your oven and range is by installing gas or propane. Gas connections can be expensive to install, but over time you will save money on your electricity bills. If you don’t have gas connections at home and don’t want to spend the extra money on installing them, propane is an easier and cheaper solution. You can use propane by keeping propane bottles or propane barrels on your property and connecting your hob to it. Overall, gas and propane offer better energy saving solutions than an electric oven.
Small kitchen appliances are the most deceptive energy drainers in every kitchen. Toasters, air fryers, and coffee pots use a lot more energy than you might think when plugged in when not in use because they are still drawing power from the wall socket. It is best to pull the plug out of the socket when you are not using it.
Another way to save money on your energy bills is by installing equipment that you will actually be using. We often have people who want to install an ice maker, beverage refrigerator, wine refrigerator, or water cooler and then don’t use them. If you have a wine cooler because you want to start collecting wine and end up using it, you are wasting money. Another example is a water cooler that is plugged in all day. It constantly regulates the water temperature and draws electricity. If you’ve kept small devices like this plugged in all day, they are constantly consuming electricity to add to your bill.
Heating elements in dishwashers use a lot of energy. When choosing a dishwasher for your kitchen, look for dishwashers without a heating mechanism. With these devices you can save electricity costs because they do not heat up during the drying process. Instead, these dishwashers use a drip-dry concept when it comes to the drying cycle.
Converting your incandescent lamps to LED lamps can save you $ 1,000 over a decade. LED lamps use at least 75 percent less energy than incandescent lamps and last around 25 times longer. Many, but not all, decorative lights are available to work with LED lamps. When buying decorative lighting fixtures for your home, make sure that they can work with LED lamps.
Divide work lights into independently switched areas. For example, meter, island, distance and sink lights need to be on separate switches. Often times, when there is adequate work lighting in the kitchen, general lighting is not required. However, if it is installed it should be on a separate switch.
By installing LED lights and using individual switches for your lighting fixtures, you can use less energy and save money over time.
Adding windows captures natural light and saves energy. Many Arizona homes were built in the 1990s and early 2000s when the technology for windows wasn’t really what it is now. Single pane windows from this time let in a lot of solar heat. Install windows with tint or built-in UV protection.
Another way you can go in upgrading your windows is with argon windows. These windows are filled with argon gas between the panes. The argon cools the light entering the house and keeps your house bright but without unnecessary heat. Installing new windows will reduce your cooling costs during the summer heat.
Adjusting the water heater temperature is another easy way to lower your electricity bills. In Arizona, our water heater doesn’t need to be set that high often in the summer. We find it hard enough to cool our water down. Lowering the temperature of your water heater during the heat of the year and increasing it again in the cooler months will lower your electricity bill.
The interface for setting the temperature on a water heater varies by type and model. For example, newer gas and electric water heaters have a thermostat behind an insulated access door. Set the temperature by first cutting off the power source and opening the access door. Use a flat-blade screwdriver to turn the thermostat down and lower the temperature. Reattach the control panel and turn the device back on. Now your water heater will no longer run as hard and save electricity.
By installing low flow faucets, you can use less water for your basic household needs. Low flow faucets are especially useful for keeping your water running while washing dishes or doing other household chores. Many of these faucets can be adjusted to suit your needs if you need more water pressure for certain jobs.
Implementing these energy efficient upgrades in your kitchen can save you money on your bills over time. As with all kitchen upgrades, you should consult a professional contractor to learn more about installing new products and new design elements that will help improve energy efficiency.
Amber Carfield is Design Director at Good Guys kitchens, a kitchen remodeling company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Carfield has been in the kitchen remodeling industry since 2000 and is an expert in all aspects of kitchen remodeling.