Choosing a Stove For a Green Kitchen – Energy Star is Just a Start

Have you made a commitment to live greener? Many people are working toward becoming greener in their everyday lives in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut back on their carbon footprints and save money. As part of that effort, green enthusiasts have turned their attention to their kitchen habits. While there are many small steps that people can take to go green in the kitchen, one big step is replacing that old kitchen stove with a more energy efficient model – one that suits the way you cook and reduces the amount of energy that you use to put food on the table.

When it comes to choosing greener appliances, most homeowners rely on the Energy Star rating. Energy Star is a government certification program that labels appliances that are energy efficient. It’s so successful that it’s become an international standard. Choosing a stove that has an Energy Star is the most obvious choice when buying a new stove, but it doesn’t really do much to narrow your choices down. There are other choices you can make that will affect how much energy you use and how much carbon you save.

Electric or Natural Gas

The first question most cooks ask themselves when choosing a new stove is “electric or gas”? There are points in favor of each choice. Gas is obviously a fossil fuel, which is a limited resource, but until we switch over to renewable energy sources to generate electricity, most electrical power is generated in coal-burning power plants. As long as that’s the case, a gas stove and an electric stove are pretty similar in terms of carbon footprint.

Advantages of Gas Stoves

Gas stoves offer many advantages for cooks. They include:

Easier and more accurate temperature control
Instant-on heat
Instant adjustments in temperature when you lower or raise heat
No heat waste when cooking is done

Advantages of Electric Stoves

Electric stoves also offer many advantages for cooks and in energy efficiency.

Burner elements sized for cooking utensils
Easy to clean, especially glass cooktops
Electric stoves offer additional cooking modes – convection, fan, microwave, etc

Of course, there are drawbacks to both electric and gas stoves as well. Electric stoves with glass cooktops and induction elements, for instance, require the use of real metal cookware – glass pots and aluminum pots won’t work right because the heat from the induction element won’t transfer properly. In addition, the cookware used on a glass cooktop must be perfectly flat or much of the energy used for heat will go to waste.

Energy Efficiency Tips for Choosing a Kitchen Stove

When choosing an electric stove, choose the stove with the most efficient heating elements possible. Cooktops with induction elements are the most energy efficient, followed by halogen elements and finally electric coil elements.
Gas stoves with electronic ignition use 40% less gas than those with a pilot light. – Choose a model that you’ll be happy with for at least a decade. The longer you use your new stove, the longer it will stay out of the landfills.
An electric stove with an oven that has convection and microwave options gives you more flexibility in energy use.
Read the Energy Guide label to compare one stove with another when making a choice for a green kitchen stove.

Remember, though, that the most efficient stove in the world is only as efficient as your cooking habits. Look for green cooking tips to help you make the most of your new energy efficient stove.

Deb Powers is a freelance writer and researcher who writes frequently about renewable energy and green living. She has been an environmental activist since the 1970s, and continues to work toward a greener planet by highlighting advances in alternative energy sources, promoting Fair Trade causes and participating in local environmental activism.

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