Posted by British Gas in Smarter Living
Do you know which room is the most resource hungry in your home? Well I can tell you, it’s almost certainly the kitchen. Think about it. You fill its cupboards with provisions to consume, you run the tap to rinse a mug, you boil the kettle to make tea, you turn the lights on to see, you ignite the hob to cook and you cool food in the fridge to keep it fresh; then you use the dishwasher to get things clean. Oh, and you probably use the washing machine and dryer, and a toaster, food mixer, coffee maker…
It’s quite a list. But the kitchen is the centre of most of our lives - many of us spend nearly a month there every year - which reminds me, there are probably some other energy consuming gadgets: a television, a laptop.
A year or so ago I went to the launch of The Future of Kitchens, a report from The Future Laboratory for home furnishing specialist IKEA. This suggests that by 2040 the kitchen will be personal trainer, dietician, psychologist and lifestyle coach. It will respond to energy levels, nutritional needs and moods and, despite a high use of technology, it will be sustainable and eco-friendly.
Sadly we’re not there yet. After central heating, domestic cooling appliances like fridges and freezers are the biggest contributors to energy bills, accounting for 20% of electricity consumed by domestic appliances in the home.
New research from IKEA reveals British households could be wasting over £43 million on energy bills each year because one in ten people wait up to 15 years or more before buying a replacement fridge. In the process they create over 135kg of carbon dioxide annually. The company claims that with newer models providing up to 46% better energy efficiency, a new fridge-freezer could actually pay for itself in less than four years.
All types of appliances can be wasteful so manufacturers are constantly coming up with new ways of saving energy. For example, Amica has developed OptiGas. This system for hobs and cookers optimises gas usage by increasing heating efficiency and lowering gas consumption by as much as 12%.
Pushing the boundaries of innovation, Whirlpool has created a “synergetic combination of single appliances that save water, heat and electricity” with its GreenKitchen concept. For example, to achieve energy savings, waste heat from the refrigerator is used to warm water for the dishwasher’s washing cycle. Meanwhile, the fridge helps cut waste by using sensors to ensure foods don’t dry out and their nutritive supply of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants are better preserved.
Food waste is a big environmental issue. According to WRAP’s ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign, we throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, costing us £12bn - most could have been eaten. It’s a sobering thought; I can’t help feeling that being green in the kitchen is not just about technology, it’s about us doing the right thing.
This post was written by Roger Hunt at http://huntwriter.com/
Images: IKEA, Whirlpool