How to use less energy in your kitchen

How to make your kitchen more energy efficient

One of the main aims of the UN Climate Change Conference – COP 26 – in Glasgow this November is to agree on measures to work towards global net zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century.
But are there things that each one of us can do to play our part in this?

Reduce your carbon footprint

We hear a lot about the term carbon footprint. It refers to the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) created and released into the atmosphere by your day to day activities. For example:

  • What you eat;
  • Where you buy your food;
  • How often you travel and your usual mode of transport;
  • The type of home you have and how many people live in it;
  • How much energy you use.

You can explore all of the above areas in more detail by using the WWF Footprint Calculator. 

In this article we focus on the last area on the above list: how much energy you use. We will look at five ways to use less energy in the kitchen.


Five ways to use less energy in your kitchen

The 3 Rs for your kitchen

The “Three R’s” – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – are a useful guide as to how to reduce our daily consumption and save energy in every aspect of our lives. We can apply them in the kitchen as much as anywhere else:

  • Reduce 

During the first Covid lockdown, many people began doing one large weekly food shop and made a detailed shopping list instead of their more usual ad hoc approach. However often you now do food shopping, it’s a great idea to plan meals in advance so that everything gets used up and you only buy what you need.

  • Reuse

If you are clearing up your kitchen and are about to throw away leftover food items or any other kitchen items, just have a think about whether they could be either reused or repurposed? For example, could any leftover vegetables be used in another meal such as a casserole. Or could plastic takeaway dishes be washed and used as freezer boxes?

  • Recycle pullout-waste-bin-600

Try to recycle anything that you are getting rid of. It’s a great idea to have separate bins in your kitchen to sort out recyclable items from general rubbish. 

The image on the right shows one of our range of pull out waste bins. This example has three separate grey plastic bins to help you sort your waste into what can and can’t be recycled. The bin can be easily mounted to the kitchen cabinet door so that it is tucked away out of sight but can be accessed quickly when needed.


Save energy when cooking on the hob

Up to as much as 30% of our annual energy bill can be attributed to cooking. So it makes sense to save as much energy as you can when preparing food.

There are three things that you can do to reduce energy when using your hob:

  • Use the right sized pans, particularly for cooking vegetables. There needs to be enough room for the vegetables in the pan, but if the pan is larger than you need you will waste energy heating up all the excess water. Make sure that you store your pans either in a kitchen cabinet, drawer or storage rack that is easy to reach when cooking, so that you won’t be tempted to use a pan that is too big just because it’s the easiest one to get to.


  • Use the right sized hob. Make sure that the pan covers the whole hob, particularly for electric hobs, otherwise energy is just being wasted.
  • Put lids on pots and pans wherever possible, as this helps to keep heat in the right place. Also, for vegetables, you can turn off the hob for the last few minutes of cooking as the water will retain the heat. Or consider draining out the water and letting the vegetables steam for a short while.


Reduce energy used by your oven

The oven is the least energy-efficient way of cooking food. So, for example, if you can use a microwave or slow cooker to prepare your food instead this will save a lot of energy.

But when you are using your oven there are things that you can do to reduce the amount of energy used:

  • Keep your oven clean. Grease and food debris can absorb heat, making your oven less energy-efficient.


  • Keep the oven door closed when the oven is in use. Every time you open the oven door, the oven loses heat and has to use more energy to get back to the right temperature again.
  • Batch cook wherever possible. If the oven is on, you might as well fill it and cook several things at once rather than running it mostly empty.
  • Turn off the oven a few minutes before the food has finished cooking. Most ovens will retain sufficient heat to complete the cooking process without using any more energy.
  • Leave the oven door open once you have finished with it, as this will generate heat in your kitchen.


Fill up your fridge and freezer

It’s important to keep both your fridge and freezer as full as possible to reduce energy. If you have a lot of empty space in your fridge and freezer, cold air will escape more quickly when the door is opened, and more energy will be needed to cool things down again.

So use as much fridge and freezer space as possible. If necessary use jugs or plastic bags of water to fill empty space. 


Also try to minimise the time that your fridge or freezer doors are open. When unpacking shopping, separate out different items before you start putting things away. For example kitchen cabinet items, larder or vegetable rack items, fridge and freezer items etc. This means that you can put all the fridge and freezer items in together, rather than keep the fridge/freezer door open when unpacking shopping bags.


Use appliances and lights sparingly

The golden rule in your kitchen should be to always switch things off when not in use. Switch the lights off when leaving the room, and when finished with an appliance, switch it off at the wall. Leaving it in standby can still use a small amount of energy.

Also be mindful of using appliances as economically as possible. For example:

  • Washing machine. Use a low temperature – 30-40°C – whenever you can. Most of the energy used by a washing machine is to heat the water, so using a lower temperature will save energy. 
  • Tumble dryer. Try to hang laundry to dry rather than using the tumble dryer. If you do use a dryer, try using it to just partially dry your clothes then air them off. Not only does this save energy but it also makes them much easier to iron.
  • Dishwasher. There is usually no need to pre-rinse, so don’t waste water by doing this. Just scrape off any debris and let the dishwasher do the rest.

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We hope that this article has helped you to discover ways to use less energy in your existing kitchen.

If you are considering a new kitchen any time soon, you will also find that there are many new energy-efficient appliances that are designed to help reduce carbon emissions and save energy. So take a look at our gallery of kitchen pictures and extensive ranges of kitchen cabinets to see if it’s time to create a new energy saving kitchen.

Do check back here soon for more lifestyle tips from DIY Homefit.