In the Kitchen
Trade Up to ENERGY STAR Appliances
Installing more efficient appliances not only reduces the energy consumption in your home, it often conserves water too.
Dishwasher - an ENERGY STAR dishwasher is, on average, 12 percent more energy efficient and 30 percent more water efficient than standard models. Using an ENERGY STAR dishwasher will save about 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime.
Clothes Washer - ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers use about 25 percent less energy and 45 percent less water compared to standard washers and can save you $40 a year on your utility bill. Additionally, a full-sized ENERGY STAR clothes washer uses 13 gallons of water per load, compared to the 23 gallons used by a standard machine. That's a savings of 3,000 gallons of water per year!
Clothes Dryer - standard clothes dryers are one of the top energy consumers in the home, but an ENERGY STAR certified dryer uses 20 percent less energy than a conventional model. If all clothes dryers sold in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR certified, Americans could save $1.5 billion each year in utility costs.
Refrigerator - An ENERGY STAR refrigerator will reduce energy bills by as much as $270 over five years. Select the appropriate size for your household’s needs. Side-by-side styles use 10 to 25 percent more energy. Automatic ice makers and through-the-door dispensers increase energy use by 14 to 20 percent and increase the purchase price by $75 to $250.
Use the Dishwasher Wisely
Washing dishes by hand consumes nearly 5,000 more gallons of water a year than using a dishwasher. Operating automatic dishwashers with a full load can help you save water. Scrape dirty dishes, don’t rinse them. Also, you can use your dishwasher’s air-dry option or prop the door open after the final rinse to air-dry dishes naturally. Using the heat-dry, rinse-hold, and pre-rinse features sparingly helps you save money. Using a “light wash” feature conserves water.
Adjust the Setting on Your Refrigerator
Of all household appliances, refrigerators consume the most electricity, accounting for 7 percent of an average home’s total energy consumption. To save money and energy, and help keep the air clean, keep your refrigerator’s thermostat set between 35 and 38 degrees. Also make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper out easily, the latch may need adjustment or the seal may need replacing.
Texans can help reduce energy consumption and keep the air clean by matching the pot and pan size to the stove’s burner size. A 6-inch pot on an 8-inch burner wastes over 40 percent of the burner’s heat. Using an appropriately sized pot on stove burners can save about $36 each year for an electric range, or $18 per year for a gas range. Keeping burners clean on gas ranges ensures that the gas is burning efficiently. Annual Savings: $18 to $36
Collect Your Food Scraps, Oil, and Grease
Reducing the fats, oils, and grease (FOG) going down your kitchen sink helps avoid expensive sewer backups, plumbing emergencies, and rate increases to cover sewer maintenance and repairs, while helping protect water quality in nearby creeks and streams. By using strainers to catch food scraps and collecting cooking grease in a container for disposal, you can keep FOG from clogging up your home’s drain pipes and can reduce plumbing costs. Learn more about FOG.
Reduce Hazardous Household Waste
Leftover or used household products that contain potentially hazardous ingredients are often referred to as household hazardous waste (HHW). This includes used light bulbs, leftover drain cleaner and other potentially hazardous substances you no longer need or want to keep. You can reduce the HHW in your home by buying only the household products you need, and using up the products you buy for their intended purpose. Learn more about HHW in Texas.
Safely Manage Household Hazardous Waste
Take special precautions to manage your HHW safely. A safe and environmentally responsible way to collect, share, and dispose of HHW is to take it to a local community collection program. Find HHW collection centers or events in your area. If you do not have access to an HHW collection program, then you can safely and legally dispose of most HHW in landfills that accept regular trash.
Recycle Paper Products
Paper and paperboard account for over 26 percent of municipal solid waste. Recycling paper products—including newspapers, food packaging, cardboard boxes, junk mail, and office paper—produces big savings. It saves money, because recycling paper fiber is cheaper than growing, harvesting, and processing trees. Every ton of office paper recycled can save the energy equivalent of 322 gallons of gasoline, and making one ton of paper from recycled paper saves up to 17 trees.
Buying locally grown food supports the local economy, reduces emissions from refrigeration and transportation, and cuts back on packing materials. Buy Texas organic products that are produced by a farming system that relies on maintaining and replenishing the soil without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Most farmers’ markets and pick-your-own locations offer organic products. You might even discover a few fruits or vegetables you didn't know were Texas grown. For locations in Texas, visit the GO TEXAN website.