How to make your new kitchen energy efficient

There are a lot of things to think about when installing a new kitchen. Although it can be a very expensive process, and you might not want to add to costs, taking energy efficiency into account is important, as it will save you money in the long run. In this blog, we highlight a few areas you could think about when it comes to creating the most efficient, most cheap to run kitchen possible.

Appliances

When you’re shopping for cookers, dishwashers and fridges etc., it’s worth looking for the most efficient models. Any extra initial costs will likely be offset by the energy savings resulting from their use.

Let’s take the example of a fridge-freezers. These are real energy guzzlers, and they are estimated to account for between 5-20% of UK households’ annual electricity bill, depending on their efficiency. If you bought your current fridge more than 10 years ago, replace it with a new energy efficient model and it will pay for itself in just a few years. Since July 2012, all new fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers must have a minimum rating of A+, but you can go even higher – A+++ is the highest efficiency model available.

Below is a table comparing the costs of new efficient fridge-freezers (cheapest 60cm width fridge-freezer from same retailer). These are estimates, and the numbers will depend on the individual model, as well as your energy tariff.
Although there is a slight difference in cost, you may think it’s worthwhile making a little extra investment, especially for the less-than-£100 difference between an A+ and AA+ model. A triple-rated fridge-freezer will save you a further £25 a year on your bills, compared to an A-rated model. Energy-efficient appliances will cost you a little more in the short term, but they’ll save you money on your bills and could pay for themselves in energy savings within just a few years.

Efficiency rating Cost to buy
A+ £265
AA+ £350
AAA+ £610

Heating

The days of everyone with access to gas opting for standard central heating are gone. There are several more efficient options out there now. We’re going to focus on two of our favourites: infrared and heat pumps.

  • Far infrared heating panels are gaining popularity as a powerful, stylish option. They are powered by electricity, but unlike other electric heating sources, they are 100% efficient. This means their running costs are very low compared to other forms of heating. Space is often at a minimum in the kitchen, and it can be awkward trying to fit radiators in among kitchen units. Infrared panels can be hung on the ceiling, where they will neither encroach on space or affect the look of your kitchen.
  • Heat pumps are also a great way of heating the home. They take heat energy from the ground or air and boost it to a high enough temperature to be used for domestic space and water heating. They’re super efficient, and have the added bonus of meaning you are eligible for government Renewable Heat Incentive payments – and you’ll know that you are doing your bit to help the planet by choosing a renewable heating source.

Both of these technologies have high initial costs but will save you money on your bills.

Insulation

Insulation is key in creating a comfortable home environment, and saving on your bills. There are several options, and which you choose to go for will depend on budget and convenience.

  • Floor insulation is often forgotten, but up to 15% of heat lost from the home goes via this route. If you have floorboards, but your kitchen is on the ground floor, you won’t be able to access them from underneath to install insulation that way. This means you either have to lift them up and insulate the joists, or insulate them from on top with rigid insulation boards. Clearly, you’ll lose some ceiling height this way.
  • If you’re undertaking a full renovation of your kitchen, i.e. ripping it out and starting again, you could think about internal wall insulation. You can either use rigid boards and plaster over them, or install a stud wall and put wool insulation in-between.
  • Solid wall insulation is the most effective – and the most expensive – type of insulation you can install. Your external walls are covered in blocks of insulation, and then sealed with render. This saves on your heating bills and helps keep your home an even temperature.

Saving water

The kitchen is obviously one of parts of the house with the highest water usage, so saving it where you can is important. We’ve listed some of the best options below, but you can find a full guide here. Aside from the environmental importance of saving water, whether or not you’re on a meter, you’ll still have to pay to heat the water you use. So there’s a financial reason to avoid wasting it.

  • A fully-loaded dishwasher on an eco setting will nearly always useless energy than washing up by hand – make sure you draw one into your plans.
  • Most taps throw out more water than they need to – around 6 litres of water flows out of your tap every minute. You can reduce this by installing a flow limiter. Lots of mixer taps incorporate one.

Installing solid wall insulation

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