Green Business Bureau Blog
Are Green Small Appliances Just A Myth?
In the ever growing world of greenness, one has to ask why there are not small appliances that are green? The government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a wonderful site on Energy Star rated appliances. The section that is noticeably missing are small kitchen appliances. There were plenty of construction materials, washing machines, refrigerators, and other big items; but no coffee makers, blenders, etc. If the government and companies aren’t willing to take on conserving energy on small appliances, then it becomes the consumer’s task to take on.
The EPA bases most of its decision about a product’s Energy Star status on how much less energy the product consumes as compared with their competitors or prior models. However, one aspect that they do not consider is the way a product is made, and if energy is saved in the production of the item. This is one aspect where consumers can take measures into their own hands. You can do this by researching the companies out there to see if the manufacturing plants use wind or solar power for their plants. See if the companies use recycled materials to create their products, or whether they make their products to be recyclable. Zero land fill companies work towards a goal to not create any waste that goes to a landfill and would be the best option to choose.
Put a Little Press on It
Sometimes a different way of thinking is needed to find ways to conserve energy, including looking to our past. Instead of getting that expensive and power hungry coffee maker with the espresso attachment, consider utilizing an older proven method for coffee making. Although water has to be heated to boiling, a French Press does not use any energy itself. You just take your boiling water – a tea kettle can boil it in 5 minutes – and add it to coffee grounds in the press. Let it steep for a few minutes and then press the plunger to trap the grounds at the bottom. This method is said to produce a superior flavor of coffee because the oils from the beans are not trapped in a filter. Of course, instant coffee can give you the same energy saving. Either way, simpley boiling water for 5 minutes on the stove will surely save more energy than letting the coffee maker heat a pot for 20 minutes.
An old cliché vision of someone trying to save energy by getting off “the grid” remains as someone using a bicycle to generate power for miscellaneous appliances. However, this method has become more advanced, and can actually help you make better use of your 20 minute workout. There are companies that have created a power generator that any bicycle can be attached to. By adding a generator and a power unit to a stationary bicycle stand, anyone can now charge up an appliance, or save a charge to be used later. One company boasts that a simple 20 minute ride can charge a laptop for an hour of use. The power unit can then be used later to operate any small appliances, be it coffee maker, blender, etc. People can add an extra arm workout by utilizing hand grinders for grinding those coffee beans for a fresh taste, or crushing those seasonings for cooking.
Just as changing to drink bottles from plastic bottles is a small step that makes a huge impact on the environment, so can the steps we take in our kitchens to use less power plant energy. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. Finding ways to perform tasks by hand may feel like ancient technologies, but they are things the old timers had right. A little effort can help take energy saving to a new level. The EPA and manufacturing companies may believe that small kitchen appliances don’t utilize enough electricity to make a difference, but that doesn’t mean we have to. If everyone takes the time to review each step they take throughout the day and find ways of taking them off the grid, then we could all become energy stars, whether we receive a stamp of approval or not.