If you took an inventory of all the appliances you use to cook with the list might look something like this: oven, stovetop, slow cooker or crockpot, microwave, and toaster oven.
As you can probably already guess, each of these appliances uses a different amount of energy, but what is not so obvious is how much energy each one uses. When you can choose between making a baked potato in the oven or in the microwave, which one will end up using less energy? How about cooking a soup or stew over the stovetop vs using the slowcooker? Meatloaf in the oven or toaster oven? Just like if you lived in a smaller house, it would take less time to cool the inside of the home with the same sized AC unit than if you lived in a larger house; it takes less energy to heat a smaller space than a larger one. So what would use less energy if you could put that meatloaf in a toaster oven compared to the conventional oven? And how much less? You would be cutting your energy use by more than half! (and reducing the temperature in the kitchen to boot).
Of course, each appliance is “specialized” to cook certain foods, but when you can choose, I encourage you to choose the more energy efficient option. Below is a table showing the energy costs of various cooking methods.
- When using electric stovetops, it is important to match the pan size to the element size, otherwise you will be wasting almost half the heat produced from the element.
- The ideal pan also has a concave bottom to maximize conduction in the pan.
- A pressure cooker will also cook stovetop items faster and with less energy, because the built-up pressure drops the boiling point of water, thus cooking the food faster.
- Cleaning your appliances increases their efficiency.
- Avoid peeking into the oven while baking.
- Double portions when using the oven to save energy on cooking.
- Remove foil on the bottom of ovens to improve air circulation.
For more ideas on how to save energy and money while you cook, visit APS and SRP’s websites and videos.