Research has recently shown that around one in five appliances don’t live up to their energy-saving claims, with the same portion of manufacturers giving misleading information regarding an appliance’s energy-efficiency.
Whilst there are many energy-saving appliances on today’s market, its important to do your research before buying to ensure they live up to their claim. Look for appliances marked A+ and above, and check consumer watchdog information for news and reviews of the best-performing models.
Above all though, it might be useful to work out just how much energy your kitchen is currently using, so you can be sure to only replace the appliances that use the most energy.
What appliances do you have?
We use so many kitchen appliances daily – it can be hard to notice how much energy we consume. Most kitchens will include large appliances such as:
- cookers and stoves
- Washing machines
- Tumble dryers
- Hot faucet taps etc.
But there’s also all the smaller appliances that we probably don’t think about, such as:
- Hand blenders
- Coffee makers
- Ice makers
We also mustn’t forget things we take for granted, such as kitchen lighting and ventilation fans.
How to calculate your kitchen’s energy consumption
To calculate the yearly energy consumption for any one appliance, first find out its wattage (or if its a gas oven or stove, find out its cubic feet/metre usage). You can normally find the wattage or CCF on the bottom or back of any appliance, or within its user manual.
The formula for testing an appliance’s energy consumption throughout the year is as follows:
(Wattage x hours used per day) / 1000 = daily kilowatt hour (kWh).
Note that a kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts.
Also, you’ll want to divide the number of hours that a refrigerator works at its maximum wattage by 3. Fridge/freezers switch themselves on and off in cycles, so aren’t continuously running at their maximum the whole year through.
Once you total up the number of kWhs for all of the appliances in your kitchen, you’ll know how much energy your kitchen is using on a yearly basis.
Bear in mind however that the wattage listed on an appliance is the appliance’s maximum. If you regularly switch settings during different usage periods, its good to go from this. If you only ever operate the appliance on a lower setting however, you may need to do a further calculation (or just check online).
Some appliances, particularly electrical ones, will still use up energy even when they are on stand by or turned ‘off’. You can avoid this by unplugging the appliance when not in use or at night.
Calculating the cost of energy consumed
To calculate the yearly cost of an appliance’s energy consumption, you’ll need to find out the rate per kWh from your electricity provider and the rate per cubic feet/metre from your gas provider (the latter will depend on what kind of gas meter you have – imperial or metric).
The formula for calculating the yearly cost is as follows:
kWh for appliance x utility provider’s rate per kWh
(or for gas appliances: kWh for appliances x utility provider’s rate per cubic foot/cubic metre)
You can also use an online calculator tool like this one from UK Power, to calculate how much your yearly energy bill is likely to cost.
How to check your energy efficiency
According to consumer watchdog Which?, a low-user will use 2000 kWh of electricity for the whole household, along with 9000 kWh of gas.
A high-user, meanwhile, will use around 49,000 kWh of electricity for the whole household and 19,000 kWh of gas. But this is a guide only and it is much better to work out your actual annual usage to figure out whether you are a low or high energy user.
The online efficiency tool on the Which? website can help you by offering a dedicated calculator for each household appliance. It also enables you to search for a specific brand or model.
Becoming more efficient
You can save energy in your kitchen by…
- Switching to LED lights or low-watt energy-saving bulbs (just contact a dedicated light supplier for advice)
- Only buying appliances that are graded A+ standard or above (having checked a few different reviews and responsible consumer guides to make sure)
- Unplugging all appliances at night and/or when not in use.