This Week’s Energy Diet Challenge- Overhaul Your Kitchen Habits

This week marks the official entrance of the EDC families into Efficiency Month. Our 6 contestant families have spent the last month focusing their efforts on conservation, which laid the foundation to move into efficiency. Without a committed focus on conserving energy and water, efficiency can only take a household so far. I have been in many newly built homes with the latest Energy Star appliances, compact florescent lighting, low-flow toilets and showerheads, with utility bills significantly higher than turn-of-the-century homes with newspaper for insulation. The real difference lies in the habits and activities of the occupants within the homes.

The Challenge

If you’ve been following our 6 dauntless families, you’ve probably noticed great strides in how they use their energy and water. Now they’re ready to start being more efficient in the kitchen, making their homes better at heating and cooling, and going further with their vehicles! They’ll start this week with the kitchen. The families will get creative in the kitchen- energy style- and employ their own interpretations as to what it means to be efficient in that particular room. I for one, can’t wait to see what transpires amongst the energy dieting families!

My Own Experience

In my home, the kitchen is the epicenter of most of our activity and time together- mostly because we love to cook and eat. As a result, there are many things we do to be more efficient as we interact with the space. We try to keep it low-tech, using hand-powered appliances when we can and avoiding lots of electrical gadgets. Manual can openers, hand-cranked coffee grinders, and people-powered food processors mean less electricity, no batteries, and stronger arm muscles!

Kitchen waste is a glaring inefficiency that I see in a lot of kitchens, particularly since much of it is organic, and when composted, can be up-cycled into a valuable soil amendment. The concept of waste does not exist in nature, and that is a principle we try hard to respect. Through reducing, reusing, recycling (did you know that the 3 Rs are a hierarchy?) and composting, we only have a small bag of non-recyclable plastic every month.

Above all, our focus is really on our food sourcing. We are a vegetarian household, and we have spent the last several years questing to find the best local and organic food available in the cold climate of Calgary. Stay posted for my next blog entry examining the energy of food.