Monday, October 12, 2009

Seven Green Tips for the Kitchen

Let's think about our kitchens for a moment. They use a lot of energy ... refrigerators, stoves/ovens, counter-top appliances, etc. They are gathering places, often doubling as a recreation area (think of playing board games at the kitchen table), an office (where kids do homework, adults pay bills and often the location of a computer), and sometimes a comfortable spot to entertain guests. So, what better place to focus our "green" efforts? Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. If you use a dishwasher (other than your spouse or kids), run it at off-peak hours ... for example, at midnight. Power plants generate electricity more efficiently during off-peak hours. And here's a bonus ... they usually sell it for less so ... you'll save money as well as energy.

  2. When thawing frozen foods, consider thawing in the refrigerator rather than using a microwave or letting the item sit on a counter. It takes a bit longer but you'll save energy, both by not using an appliance and by using the item to keep the refrigerator contents cool.

  3. Thinking of buying a cutting board? Consider bamboo. Not only is it a sustainable material, it is strong, hard and resists bacteria better than wood.

  4. Rather than use ice to fill a cooler or "shock" vegetables (stop them from cooking after they've been removed from the stove), try using a freezer pack. It's reusable and you'll save water.

  5. Collect rinse water and give it to your plants. Or, leave it in the sink and use it, instead of the faucet, to wash hands.

  6. Want some fried food tonight? Consider stir frying ... since stir fried foods are typically cut into bite-sized pieces and cooked at high temperatures, they cook fast which means they use minimal energy. Here's a bonus ... stir frying uses less oil than traditional deep frying so it's also a healthier alternative.

  7. If the kitchen doubles as a computer room, remember to place the computer and any desktop lamps, etc. on a power strip ... and then, turn them off when not in use.

There are many ways to "green" a kitchen ... these seven ideas are good places to start.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!