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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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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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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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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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Choosing an Efficient Refrigerator

I track down a new refrigerator rated at 335 kWh per year

Posted on Nov 19 2012 by Marc Rosenbaum

When we moved into our house, it had the original Maytag 18.5-cubic-foot refrigerator that was installed in 2000. It had one feature I had never lived with before: an icemaker.

It took me some time to realize that the weird sounds I occasionally heard coming from the fridge was it cranking out the cubes. We don't use much ice, and being middle-aged actually learned in our youth how to fill ice cube trays (similar to being able to count, and tell time by the big hand and the little hand, and other lost arts), so eventually I turned that feature off.

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Image Credits:

  1. GE

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Seasonal Changes in Electrical Loads

Water heaters use more energy during the winter, while refrigerators use more energy during the summer

Posted on Oct 16 2012 by Marc Rosenbaum

We all know that residential heating loadRate at which heat must be added to a space to maintain a desired temperature. See cooling load. is highest in the winter and cooling load is highest in the summer. What's a bit more subtle is how the seasons, and how we respond to them, change the loads on other household energy uses.

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Image Credits:

  1. Frigidaire

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Choosing an Energy-Efficient Refrigerator

Select a small refrigerator with the freezer at the top — one without a through-the-door ice dispenser

Posted on May 18 2012 by Martin Holladay

Because federal appliance efficiency standards have gotten more stringent, new refrigerators use much less energy than those sold in the 1970s. These days, it’s fairly easy to find a full-size refrigerator that requires only 350 to 500 kWh per year — significantly less than the 1,000 kWh/year energy hogs of yore.

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Image Credits:

  1. William L. Holladay
  2. General Electric

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7 Steps to an Energy-Efficient House: 6. Appliances

Buy Energy Star (or better) fixtures, appliances, and lighting

Posted on May 10 2010 by Betsy Pettit

Editor's introduction: With energy prices rising again, many homeowners are planning energy-efficiency improvements to their homes. But most people are unsure of where to begin, and even seasoned builders don’t always know which priorities should rise to the top of the list. Betsy Pettit, an architect at Building Science Corporation, recommends starting where you can get the most bang for the buck.

Step 6: Buy 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. (or better) fixtures, appliances, and lighting

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Image Credits:

  1. Sunfrost

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Buying a New Refrigerator

Posted on May 12 2009 by Alex Wilson

In a typical home, the refrigerator accounts for about 8% of the total annual energy expense, according to 2005 data from the U.S. Department of Energy. While this energy consumption for food storage is significant, it’s far less than it was a few decades ago. In the mid-1970s, an average new refrigerator used about 1,800 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, making it the single most expensive energy load in many homes.


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