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Kitchen Design

Common-sense principles for a green kitchen

Posted on Nov 10 2017 by Martin Holladay

Every decade, kitchen design becomes more complicated. It’s gotten to the point where some residential designers subcontract the work to a specialist.

If you are a humble owner-builder, do your kitchen preferences even matter anymore? Of course they do. If you’re building a house, you should certainly have a say in matters affecting kitchen design — even if your ideas are different from those of the experts.

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Image Credits:

  1. Fine Hombuilding - Susan Teare

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No Reason to Delay Efficiency Standards

The Department of Energy decision does nothing but create uncertainty for manufacturers

Posted on Apr 11 2017 by Anonymous


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOEUnited States Department of Energy.) issued delay notices in mid-March for two energy efficiency standards and three test procedures, which does nothing but create uncertainty for manufacturers and industry where there should be none. Taken together, these standards (including the standards supported by the test procedures) will save consumers more than $28 billion over 30 years of product shipments.

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Image Credits:

  1. Funeyes via Pixabay

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New Rules for Ceiling Fans

The Department of Energy has proposed a new efficiency standard for ceiling fans and a final rule for ceiling fan light kits

Posted on Jan 12 2016 by Andrew deLaski

Late last month, the Department of Energy (DOEUnited States Department of Energy.) issued two rules affecting ceiling fans: a proposed rule that would establish the first efficiency standards for ceiling fans, and a final rule that improves the efficiency of the lights attached to ceiling fans.

The proposed ceiling fan efficiency standards would save about 11% of the energy used by ceiling fans. Energy savings would more than double, though, if DOE adopted a standard level based on advanced motor technology for residential ceiling fans.

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Image Credits:

  1. JH Photography / Creative Commons license / Flickr

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‘Always On’ Electronics and Appliances Waste Billions

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council pegs the loss at $19 billion every year

Posted on May 21 2015 by Scott Gibson

Electronic devices that use electricity even when they appear to be turned off, and a new generation of appliances with digital components and internet connectivity, together waste a total of $19 billion a year in electricity, according to a new report.

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Researchers at Work on New Refrigerator

Using a new compressor design, they hope to reduce energy consumption by about 40 percent to less than 1 kilowatt hour per day

Posted on Feb 27 2015 by Scott Gibson

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Whirlpool are at work on a more efficient refrigerator that could reduce average energy use by as much as 40 percent, a report published at R&D said.

The lab said that researchers are banking on an oil-free "Wisemotion" linear compressor manufactured by Embraco along with other technologies and materials to bring down energy consumption to less than 1 kilowatt hour per day.

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Image Credits:

  1. Frigidaire

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Energy-Saving Clothes Dryers Hit U.S. Markets

Whirlpool says its ventless HybridCare heat pump dryer cuts energy use by as much as 73 percent — and LG offers a competing model

Posted on Jan 29 2015 by Scott Gibson

Clothes dryers are the energy hogs of home appliances, accounting for 6 percent of total residential energy use and costing U.S. consumers $9 billion a year in power bills. Dryers use more electricity — an estimated 900 kilowatt hours a year — than either a refrigerator or a clothes washer.

Homeowners in Europe have long had access to dryers that use heat-pump technology instead of electrical resistance elements or gas burners to dry clothes. And now two manufacturers, Whirlpool and LG, are rolling out heat-pump clothes dryers for U.S. buyers.

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Image Credits:

  1. Whirlpool
  2. CLASP/Super Efficient Dryer Initiative

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Refrigerators Get New Efficiency Standards

New federal standards which take effect this month will reduce energy use in most models by as much as 25%

Posted on Sep 16 2014 by Scott Gibson

As the modern refrigerator marks its 100th anniversary this year, new federal efficiency standards take effect on September 15 that will cut energy consumption on most models by between 20% and 25%, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The drop in power consumption continues a trend that started nearly 40 years ago with efficiency standards approved by the then fledgling California Energy Commission.

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Image Credits:

  1. Wikimedia Commons

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All About Microwave Ovens

A microwave oven usually uses less energy than other methods of cooking — but sometimes it doesn’t

Posted on Sep 5 2014 by Martin Holladay

A microwave oven uses less energy than a conventional oven. Even though this statement is broadly true, a microwave oven isn’t always the most efficient way to cook.

So what appliance should you use to heat up or cook your dinner: A gas stovetop? An electric-resistance stovetop? An induction stovetop? A gas oven? An electric oven? A countertop toaster oven? A crockpot? Or a microwave oven?

If all you care about is energy efficiency, it’s possible to come up with an answer to this question — but the answer will depend on the quantity and the type of food you are cooking.

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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: ACP MenuMaster
  2. Image #2: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
  3. Image #3: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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Choosing Kitchen Appliances for a Passivhaus

What we like — and don’t — about our refrigerator, dishwasher, induction cooktop, oven, range hood, and microwave

Posted on Aug 5 2014 by Andrea Lemon

After living in our house for 1½ years, I finally have enough distance to evaluate the many decisions that went into building it. I plan to write a series of "Hindsight" posts, speaking frankly about what worked and what we'd do differently if we had to do it all over again.

To start the series, I'm going to keep it simple and talk about our kitchen appliances. Don't worry, I'll cover all the hairy Passivhaus details eventually, but I'll start at the shallow end.

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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Andrea Lemon

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Energy Star Program to Include Clothes Dryers

Taking effect in 2015, the new Energy Star specification recognizes the substantial energy savings provided by heat-pump clothes dryers

Posted on Jun 6 2014 by Scott Gibson

For the first time, the government's Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. program will include clothes dryers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced.

Until now, the EPA's Energy Star program had excluded the appliances even though they use an estimated 6% of all residential energy. How come? The energy efficiency of different makes and models didn't vary appreciably. (For more information on this topic, see Alternatives to Clothes Dryers.)

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Image Credits:

  1. Wikimedia Commons

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