Before you start
Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator before cooking so your oven or stovetop isn’t using energy to bring food to room temperature.
While you cook
Food cooks more quickly and efficiently in ovens where air circulates freely. Don’t lay foil on the racks. If baking more than one pan at a time, stagger pans on upper and lower racks to improve airflow. More ways to save energy:
- Avoid opening the oven door and letting heat and energy escape as you cook. Instead, use your oven light and oven window to inspect food.
- Turn off the electric burner just before cooking is finished. The burner will continue to radiate heat, which can save energy and prevent overcooking. Use thermometers to prevent overcooking, especially when cooking meat in the oven.
It takes less energy to reheat food than to cook it. Cook double portions when using your oven, and refrigerate or freeze half for another meal. This saves preparation time, too!
Time to clean
Scrape, don’t rinse
Modern dishwashers do a superb job of cleaning even heavily soiled dishes. Don’t be tempted to pre-rinse dishes before loading. Simply scrape off any food, empty liquids and let the dishwasher do the rest.
When filling the dishwasher
Completely fill the racks to optimize water and energy use, but allow proper water circulation for adequate cleaning.
Wash only full loads
The dishwasher uses the same amount of water, whether it’s half-full or completely full. Consider loading the dishwasher throughout the day and running it once in the evening.
Use energy-saving options
Select the cycle on your dishwasher that requires the least amount of energy for the job. Many models now include “eco” cycles designed to minimize energy and water consumption.
Use the no-heat air-dry feature on your dishwasher
Use the no-heat dry feature, if your dishwasher has one, or open the dishwasher to air-dry dishes. This may increase the drying time but will save energy.
Turn down the water heater temperature
Most dishwashers in the U.S. have built-in heaters that boost water temperature to what’s recommended for optimum dishwashing performance. So, go ahead and lower your water heater temperature to 120°F. This provides adequate hot water for your household needs, reduces the risk of scalding and saves money on water heating costs.
Cleaning your oven
If you have a self-cleaning oven, save energy by using this feature just after you’ve cooked a meal, when the oven is still hot and the cleaning feature requires less energy. Try not to use the self-cleaning feature too often and operate the ventilation fan when in use.