Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In the Kitchen: Energy Efficient Appliances

As a follow up to our last post, here are some more ideas to get the most out of your kitchen appliances, energy-wise.

Here are a few simple tips from IDT Energy to help you get started making your kitchen as energy efficient as possible:

Measure the space you have set aside for your new appliance. Then measure the appliance to make sure it will fit and that there is enough space to open doors or lid, and that there is enough room for proper ventilation.

It is not enough to only consider the price of the appliance. Check how much the appliance costs to run, and be sure to purchase the most energy efficient that you can.

Check with the sales person if there are any special offers such as cash rebates, low-interest loans or other incentives to purchase a more energy efficient model.

Be sure to read the Energy Guide, the black and yellow sticker that the FTC requires be placed on all new appliances, (with the exception of kitchen ranges, microwave ovens and dryers.) Reading this guide helps consumers to compare the different models and make the most informed choices about the energy they will be using and the money they will be spending when they bring the new appliance into their home.

Becoming an informed consumer will help you save money and save energy.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Energy Efficient Remodeling: Part 1 - Kitchen

Are you using this beautiful weather to fix up or remodel some areas of your home? Are you looking to update the cosmetics or perhaps lower your energy bills? There are a number of ways you can make your house work harder for you and spend less on your monthly bills.

The geeks at IDT Energy are always looking for ways to improve their own homes and as total energy geeks we look for ways to lower our energy bills. For the first part of this series we are looking at the kitchen - the heart and hub of many homes.

  1. The first and the most obvious way to improve the efficiency in the kitchen is to replace and upgrade the appliances.  Older appliances tend to use a lot of energy, by upgrading to energy star rated appliances you will reduce energy usage and save money.
  2. Lighting can account for 15% of your home's energy usage and because your kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in the house, it uses the majority of that 15%. If you are not replacing the lighting fixtures, simply change your light bulbs from the old style to CFL (compact florescent lights). If you are replacing the light fixtures themselves, upgrade to Energy Star light fixtures. These light fixtures can use 75% less energy, generate 75% less heat and last up to 10 times longer.
  3. Increase the natural lighting in the room. By removing any unneeded walls, increasing the window or door size and even adding a light tube you can increase the natural light in the room.
  4. Add insulation to both the walls and the pipes. Additional insulation around the pipes will prevent the heat escaping from the water. For the outside walls add blown-in insulation if you are not opening the walls and spray foam if you are. Spray foam can be expensive so if you are looking save money, batt and roll works as well. Make sure you have an R value of at least R-30 for outside walls, but the higher the R value the better. 
  5. Change out your faucet for a low flow faucet that can reduce water usage by 60%.
  6. Check for any air leaks around electrical outlets, windows, doors and recessed lighting An easy way to look for leaks - use a stick of incense, use it around any possible leaks, if the smoke moves or shift there is a leak. Seal or insulate any leaks that you find. 
Stay tuned as we explore different areas of the house!