Building the Ultimate Green Kitchen

The kitchen is responsible for a good amount of your household’s total energy consumption—second only to heating and air conditioning. By upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, you’ll save money on your utility bill while cutting down on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by older models. It’s also one of the easiest areas to green up thanks to Energy Star, a program started in 1992 by the EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) that promotes energy efficiency in household products and consumer choices.

The first thing to ask when shopping for an appliance is whether it’s an Energy Star–approved model. If not, keep looking. The Energy Star program rates the efficiency of household appliances. If an appliance meets the program’s criteria, it’s labeled with the blue and white Energy Star logo.

You can calculate an annual estimate of how much money you’ll save by switching over, as well as how much more efficient your new appliance is than one adhering to federal standards, on the website.

It’s important to know that you will probably pay more for an energy-efficient appliance. But Energy Star estimates you’ll save at least $80 per year by switching over. Plus, many states and retailers offer rebates for purchasing Energy Star appliances. Check with your local utility office and/or retailer to see what is offered.