3 Energy Saving Tips On Turkey Day

With Thanksgiving Day just around the corner here are a few tips from the lab on how to save money and energy in the kitchen this year.

1. Toaster Ovens – Batch, Shut-off and Convection.

We found that the vast majority of a toaster oven’s energy consumption goes towards getting it warm in the first place.  Once it’s warm, it doesn’t take a lot of energy (or time) to keep it there.  So heat the rolls, then the batch of cookies, then the pumpkin pie.  Just do it without letting the toaster oven get cold over and over again.  Also, many toaster ovens don’t automatically turn off after use.  Make sure to switch them off to minimize energy usage and for safety.   Finally, if you have a good convection toaster oven use it.   In many cases this feature can save time and potentially energy.  In our tests, they made cookies fluffier too – and who doesn’t love fluffy cookies?

2. CoffeeMakers – Go Thermo

One of the biggest drivers of energy usage in a coffeemaker is the heat plate it uses to keep your coffee warm.  If you’re in need of a new coffeemaker – consider getting one with a thermo-carafe.  It keeps your coffee warm longer without using any additional energy.  And besides, those heat plates can destroy flavor.

3.  Microwave Ovens – Zap Away

If you need to heat something quickly – zap it.  Your microwave is one of the best conservers of energy in your kitchen.  Use microwave safe containers and covers.

Strosniders True Value Hardware in Bethesda and Silver Spring has all these appliances and more with Savenia Labs Energy Rating Labels so you can see the energy costs BEFORE you buy!

Have a happy holiday!

VideoBlog: Our Next Contest Winner, Susan the Convection Connoisseur

As we recently reported, over a 10m time period convection bake and regular bake on a toaster oven use about the same amount of energy.  That means our winner came closest to guessing a difference between the two of 0%.  We got guesses all over the map – from convection saving energy on the magnitude of 50% to using more energy by 80%.  Susan came the closest and took home the prize of a brand new Savenia Labs rated Toaster Oven….from Strosniders of course!

Don’t forget to enter our newest contest: Of the 20 most popular 10-12 cup coffee makers sold in the US, how much of the MSRP does the average coffeemaker cost in energy usage over its 5 yr. lifetime?  If you guess right a Savenia Labs rated Coffeemaker could be in your future.

Convection Bake: Does it Save Energy?

Our contest for the past two weeks tested our Facebook fans’ knowledge of the convection bake function on their toaster ovens.  Long touted by toaster oven manufacturers as a way to reduce cooking times and save energy, convection bake was put to the test.  We tested the difference between energy usage in a 10 minute period between convection bake and regular bake among the top 20 most popular toaster ovens sold in the US (note: not all of these top 20 had both options), and we asked you – was there a difference?

And the answer…. No.  Convection bake and regular bake use just about the same amount of energy within a 10 minute time period.  So whoever guessed closest to 0% is this week’s winner.  We’ll get in touch with the winner and let you know who that is soon.

But this still begs the question – does convection bake save energy?  We found that manufacturers either recommended reducing cooking times by 30% or reducing oven temperatures by 25 degrees.  If either of these recommendations result in a quality product – your oven should save energy…right?  Maybe.  Since toaster ovens use the vast majority of their energy over short cooking times to pre-heat the oven, small reductions in temperature or cooking time at the end of the cycle make little difference in the energy consumption.

After baking many batches of French Meadow Bakery Chocolate Chip cookies from MOM’s Organic Market, we can say with confidence that cookies baked using convection were “fluffier,” to use a technical term, and tastier in our view.    Every machine is different and we could find no standard time difference or temperature reduction.

We’d like to hear from you …have you used convection bake on your toaster oven and do you find it saves time?

New Contest: What’s with Convection Bake Anyway?

One Savenia Labs tested appliance won, several more to go.   This week we want to explore some of the interesting information we found from lab testing several toaster oven functions.  Many toaster oven models now come with a “convection bake” option.  How does convection bake compare to regular bake?  That’s our question this week:

Of the 20 most popular toaster ovens sold in the US, how much energy, more or less, does the convection bake function use vs. regular bake function over 10 minutes. (+%, -%)?

Again, remember that the answer is based on our independent lab testing available nowhere else.  So take your best guess and come back here to see who won and what the difference in energy is.

Good luck!