The kitchen is so often the heart of the home. It’s where many of us spend most of our time, whether cooking, relaxing or socializing. This is why when homeowners think about updating, they often start with the kitchen. With some planning, it’s possible to create a kitchen that’s warm, welcoming, stylish and functional. And let’s not forget,  beautiful kitchens are great for resale value.

Many homeowners update their kitchens with the aim of creating a more energy-efficient space. Here are some things to look for when selecting new appliances:

Refrigerators

  • Refrigerator efficiency has improved significantly over the past decade, but refrigerators still consume more energy than any other kitchen appliance. If you purchase a new refrigerator as part of your remodel, consider an Energy Star model.
  • Keep in mind that extra features like ice dispensers reduce a refrigerator’s efficiency. Likewise, refrigerators that have freezer compartments on the side are less efficient than models with the freezer door above the refrigerator door.
  • Avoid placing your refrigerator close to heat sources such as the stove or microwave. Even heat ducts and bright sunlight will reduce the refrigerator’s efficiency.
  • Keeping your old refrigerator for extra food storage may seem like a good idea, but it will only increase your energy bill. Instead, purchase a slightly larger refrigerator that will accommodate your needs. Never take your old refrigerator to a landfill—it could leach harmful pollutants into the groundwater.

 Dishwashers

  • Dishwashers use the most energy when they heat water during a wash cycle, so look for a model that allows you to adjust the water temperature. To save even more energy, turn the heat setting off and air dry your dishes.
  • Install your dishwasher at a maximum distance from your refrigerator. If it’s too close, its heat and moisture will make the refrigerator work harder and increase energy costs. If you have to put them next to each other, separate them with a sheet of foam insulation.

Learn more about energy-efficient appliances.