Cook Up Savings: Stoves & Ovens
Hot Topics: Stoves & Ovens
Consider your cooking habits. If home-cooked meals are rare at your house, you may be better off to invest in an energy-efficient refrigerator instead of a new range or special cookware. If you love to cook, consider energy-saving appliances, and the best cookware and stove you can afford.
Healthy Heating Habits
Cooking appliances are not subject to federal government energy efficiency regulations so the industry focuses on convenience features and aesthetics; however, studies show that adjusting cooking habits could decrease your cooking energy consumption up to 50%.
Stovetops: What’s Your Stove Type?
The choice of gas or electric, stovetop/oven combination range, or a separate stovetop and oven is yours. What’s your type? Unlike space and water heating, where using natural gas is more efficient, the difference between stovetops is insignificant as long as you have the proper hook-ups and ventilation.
Gas units vary in efficiency, with more efficient types also being more expensive. The most efficient are magnetic induction stovetops, followed by halogen, radiant, and exposed coil.1 Unless you do a lot of cooking, it may not be cost effective to choose the more advanced stovetop technologies based solely on energy efficiency. Instead, select the best option based on your overall preference, your cooking habits, and invest in efficient cookware.
Conventional burners use natural gas fed through a pressurized line to produce an open flame. You can save over 50% of your cooking energy by choosing an electric ignition over a standing pilot.2 If possible, avoid standing pilots—they must remain on, constantly burning fuel, which can equal the amount of gas you use to cook all year.
Sealed gas burners enclose the burners in a cook top. This increases safety by eliminating open flames. They are also easier to clean and as efficient as conventional burners.
Economical, Efficient, Electric
Electric stovetops have a range of efficiency and cost. The most efficient are magnetic induction stove tops, followed by halogen, radiant, and exposed coil. If you don’t cook much, it might not be beneficial to select the most advanced stovetop just for its energy efficiency. Choose what fits your budget, your choice of cookware, and your cooking preferences.
Electric stovetops, from highest to lowest energy-efficiency:
Magnetic Induction: quickly and magnetically heats cookware
Halogen: ceramic glass surface heated by quartz halogen lamp is easy to clean
Radiant: easy-to-clean ceramic glass with electric coils underneath that take time to heat up
Exposed Coil: familiar, affordable, non-instantaneous electric resistance heat
Solid Disk: exposed-coil technology with easy-to-clean surface
Ovens: Conventional vs. Convection
The two main types of ovens are conventional and convection—and some ovens combine both. Convection ovens continuously circulate heat. When you cook with a full oven, this can decrease cooking energy use by 20% because of lower temperatures and shorter cooking times.
Ovens are only efficient if you cook large dishes that fill the oven. Ovens with self-cleaning features—capable of heating to higher temperatures for longer periods of time—are generally more efficient because they have more insulation for the high-temperature setting. The additional insulation helps prevent heat transfer to the area outside the oven but this is only energy-efficient if the self-cleaning function is used no more than once a month.
Regardless of oven type, the process of heating air and the oven’s metal body uses most of the energy used to support. Cooking your food consumes only 6% of the energy used.
1Goorskey, Sarah, Wang, K., Smith, A. (2004). Rocky Mountain Institute’s Home Energy Briefs #8 Kitchen Appliances. Snowmass, CO: Rocky Mountain Institute. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://www.rmi.org/rmi/pid217. (p. 5)
2Goorskey, Sarah, Wang, K., Smith, A. (2004). Rocky Mountain Institute’s Home Energy Briefs #8 Kitchen Appliances. Snowmass, CO: Rocky Mountain Institute. Retrieved October 1, 2012, from http://www.rmi.org/rmi/pid217. (p. 4)
This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.