Thursday, April 23, 2009
Best Energy Saving Tips
Wow! I am blown away by all the great energy saving tips that were shared in the comments section of the last post. I've compiled some of my favorites for your convenience. I'm sure there is at least one tip that you hadn't considered.
Save energy, save time, save money and you'll be helping to protect our environment. Earth Day may be officially over, but really, every day is Earth Day, right?
Congratulations to Suzy who won the Scanpan and Randi who won a copy of Big Green Cookbook. Your prizes are on their way.
I find that i love caramelized onions but the time and energy in cooking them each time I want to use them is prohibitive and limits my use of them. So now, every couple of weeks or so, I buy 3 or so pounds of onions and carmelize them all down at once. Then, I freeze them in about 1/4 cup pouches which i find are perfect for throwing in dishes. I then just move them to the fridge periodically to always have them on hand.
My energy saving kitchen tip is to unplug all of my small appliances, such as a mixer, toaster, coffeemaker, etc. whenever they are not in use. Also, I freeze some of my veggie scraps (onion ends, mushroom stems, celery ends) for making stock.
Here's my sustainable tip, though I suppose it's only relevant for certain climates. It's a summer tradition in my family to have a full Armenian meal, complete with rice and lamb grapeleaves. After years of buying overpriced leaves from various markets, we've begun scouring the neighborhood for grapevines. Now, we spend a few weeks going around collecting hundred of grapeleaves (for freezing and reuse). It's good for the vines, easy on our budget and it's the perfect way to make use of local produce! Not to mention the leaves freeze very well and can be used all year long.
I save energy by using the convection oven in my microwave instead of my range--not as much space to heat up and it doesn't heat up my kitchen.
Save scraps--vegetables, chicken bones, and so on--and make soup! (We throw out too much food.)
Another great one is my pressure cooker. Cooking things that normally take hours of braising on the stove can be done in less than an hour with the pressure cooker. It saves time and energy!
When boiling water, cover the pot to prevent heat loss. Just before your food is cooked completely, turn off the burner and allow the heat in the pot to continue the cooking process for you.
Using a toaster oven for small jobs, rather than a conventional oven, can save energy.
Anytime we bake or roast something in the winter, we leave the oven door open after we turn the oven off. In our little apartment, it keeps the need for the heating down quite a bit on cooking days!
We have a crappy old oven in my apartment, and don't often need a full sized oven. I found a toaster oven at the thrift store, our energy bills went down fast!
My green tip is to use the pilot light in your older gas stove for making soy yogurt. It's on anyway, so use the pilot as much as possible.
CLEANING & STORAGE
I open the dishwasher when the dry cycle starts to save on energy and reuse plastic containers a few times before throwing them away.
My green kitchen tip is to use glass (jars, pyrex) for storage as much as possible - infinitely reusable and doesn't take on stains or smells like tupperware or disposable containers. Adrienne
I try to allow food to cool to room temperature before I put it in the fridge. Why make the fridge cool it down to room temperature and possibly spoil the surrounding food when my counter can cool it at the same rate?
I never run the dry cycle on my dishwasher, and I've just very recently begun replacing my worn dish towels with ones made of bamboo fiber. As for cleaners, I'm a big fan of the Method line
My kitchen tip would be to make your own cleaners. Baking soda works wonders on my kitchen sink (when it needs something stronger, I get out the Bon Ami) and vinegar is my favorite 'tool' for getting off the hard water deposits that show up here on a weekly basis!
So, we got rid of paper towels and paper napkins for cloth- we use more energy for running the washer, sure, but we wait till it is completely loaded, and we have to run it anyway!, so we're for sure saving on waste! We have given up plastic and paper shopping bags in favor of cloth ones all the time, and we don't allow water bottles in the house- all our water is tap water, and not only at home but even when we're out! We never throw out food... I know this sounds like a crazy one, but growing up in Italy wasting food in any whatsoever way was considered a capital sin. So all leftovers are saved, and we never ever not eat things that are on our plate. Does that count?
We turn off the heated drying cycle on the dishwaher. A quick shake and a propped door gets it all dry just fine. I keep an inventory list of what's in our freezer on the door. Now, when I want to know if we still have chicken or sausages in the freezer, I can find out without having to root through all the shelves. It also forces us to clean out the freezer every few months as we update the list.
I always carry my reusable grocery bags in the car so that I have no excuse to answer the question paper or plastic?
Keep the freezer full
My kitchen tip is to save all your veggie scraps and start a compost bin. It's a great way to give back to the earth and does wonders for the vegetable garden.
Pet rabbits = Organic garbage disposals = compost + 10 years of uber cute fluffy pals.
When I have to wait for the water to heat at the tap I use the running cold water to water my plants. I soak greens in a large stainless bowl full of water, after I remove the greens I use the water on my outdoor plants. I used to live with a very restricted amount of water. I value water greatly and try not to take it for granted.
Even though we live in a fourplex building, our landlord lets us have a small garden out back. In the summer we grow our own herbs and some produce ..we co-ordinate what we plan to grow with our neighbors and then when it's harvest time, we swap.(For instance if we grow tomatoes and they grow peppers, we exchange some tomatoes for their peppers and so forth). It's a great experience for our neighborhood and the earth