Green Housing

Reduce Waste

Reduce Energy Demands
In the Kitchen

  • Keep it full.  Chilled items help keep the inside of your refrigerator cold, so the unit doesn’t have to work as hard to regulate temperature each time the door is opened.  Don’t put hot items in the refrigerator, since they make the motor work harder; let hot foods cool before refrigeration.
  • Buy a new one.  Although refrigerators can last decades, new ones use up to 60 percent less energy than twenty-year-old models.  Consider purchasing a model with a bottom or top freezer; side-by-side units are less efficient.
  • Vacuum the coils once a month to improve efficiency by 30 percent.
  • Don’t refrigerate uncovered foods.  They make the motor work harder.


  • Install it away from the refrigerator; the oven’s heat makes the refrigerator work harder.
  • Keep the door closed.  Each opening drops the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use glass or ceramic pans.  They’re just as effective as metal ones and allow you to reduce cooking temperatures by 25 degrees.
  • Use a toaster oven for small dishes or portions.  A convection toaster is even more efficient.
  • Use a pressure cooker whenever possible. It can reduce energy consumption by 50 percent compared to an oven.
  • Keep it clean.  Clean, shiny cooktop surfaces reflect heat better, and thus cook faster, than dirty, blackened ones.


  • Don’t run the dishwasher unless it’s full.
  • Turn-off the dishwasher after the final rinse and open the door slightly to allow the dishes to air dry.
  • Use as little soap as possible.
  • If the dishwasher must be installed next to the refrigerator, put a layer of foam insulation in between them.


  • Though microwaves use a lot of energy, they use 50-65 percent less energy than ovens for cooking the same amount of food. 
  • Microwaves don’t heat up the kitchen, potentially reducing the demands on your air conditioning.

Air conditioning

  • Consider using fans or opening screened windows throughout the home.
  • Only use the air conditioner when you are home.


  • Unplug any electronics not in use, or use a power strip for multiple outlets and turn off the power strip. “Smart” power strips automatically shut down power to electronics that aren’t in use, like your printer or DVD player, but also have outlets marked “always on” for devices that need continuous power, like a DVR.  Other advanced power strips come with a remote control, so you can switch them off without crawling around on the floor.
  • The Home Energy Saver calculator, created for the Department of Energy, provides a customized list of tips based on information you enter about your appliances, home construction and energy use.

Reduce Water Usage

  • Use a dishwasher whenever possible, as they use less water than washing dishes by hand. Otherwise let dishes sit in sudsy water for a few minutes before washing.
  • More detergent equals more water needed to remove it.
  • Take showers instead of baths; showering uses less water.
  • Don’t let the water run while shaving or brushing your teeth