How To: Rethink Energy in Your Kitchen

August 20, 2014

We want to talk about upgrading rooms in your house. For example, the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room are often the most poorly functioning part of a home (especially an older one), so there are great ways to make both functional and energy efficient improvements.

What can upgrading these spaces do for you?

  • Make the room more functional by improving layout
  • Save energy and money with efficient appliances
  • Save water (using efficient plumbing fixtures)
  • Make the room safer with better finish materials and lighting
  • Make the room more accessible for a disabled family member
  • Improve ventilation and control for moisture

As far as the kitchen goes, it’s likely that you spend a lot of time in there. You want it to look good and be high functioning so when you invite friends and family over, it’s a comfortable and inviting space. That being said, it’s also a good place to save energy. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when “rethinking” your kitchen:

1. With electric lighting, simply having ceiling lights may not be enough. They can cause too many shadows on the work surface. You also don’t want to over-light your kitchen (it may help to consult a designer to determine how much and what type of lighting you need).

2. Take advantage of natural light! Utilize windows and skylights.

3. Convection ovens (which use a fan to circulate air and keep temperatures steady) have shorter cook times and use 20% less energy than standard ovens. Also, microwaves have the advantage of cooking food without heating cookware or the kitchen, and use about 1/3 of the energy of a conventional oven doing the same job.

4. Be sure to provide natural ventilation (from windows) and mechanical ventilation (from a range hood). Range hoods are especially important if you have a gas stove.

5. Washing dishes: machine or by hand? If you have a new, energy-efficient dishwasher, it saves huge amounts of water and dishwashing compared to hand washing (who likes to wash them by hand, anyway?).

6. When it comes to refrigerators and freezers, it’s no surprise that older appliances are far less energy efficient than new ones. Tip: The average life expectancy of a refrigerator is about 15 years. If you’ve had yours for a long time, it’s likely costing you a lot of money to run it and you may want to make an upgrade.

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If you haven’t already, conduct an energy assessment to find out where you can save the most. An energy assessment will tell you how efficient your home is at maintaining comfortable temperatures, and it will let you know if your home is cost efficient. If you’re interested in having your home assessed with an energy audit, please fill out a short contact form by clicking here. If you are interested in a free estimate or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or click here. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page!

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