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Published Columns: April 2004
Curbing Your Consumption:
Recipe for Kitchen Cuts

By John Ford and David Chernushenko

The biggest single user of energy in the kitchen, and often in the house, is the refrigerator. A fridge older than ten years may be using four or more times a new model. Advances in technology and breakdown of insulation cause the difference. Keep sealed containers of water in your fridge to use up empty space and prevent loss of cool air when the door is opened. If you can, put the fridge next to the coolest wall in the kitchen and away from the stove to improve the efficiency.

Your microwave is not always the most efficient way to heat. A plug-in kettle uses about two-thirds the power to boil water as a pan or stove-top kettle. A microwave uses double the energy.

Changing your cooking habits can net savings. Adding a lid to a pot reduces the energy required to maintain the same heat level. Using a thinner pasta like capellini cuts boiling time and energy down by as much as 66%.

Let washing dishes by hand become a family social event and leave the dishwasher idle. Run it once a month though to maintain the seals.

John Ford is a technology consultant, and owner of a small energy conservation business. He has won the Green Party nomination in Ottawa South for the upcoming federal election.

David Chernushenko is a sustainability advisor to business, governments and homeowners and the federal Green Party candidate for Ottawa Centre