Here are some general tips on how to maximise energy efficiency when cooking:
- Make sure that the size of the pan and the size of the induction element (for electric stoves) are the same. According to the US study SmarterHouse, cooking with a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch ring will waste over 40% of the heat energy produced.
- Use different materials depending on the cooking method. Copper pans heat up faster than normal pans on the stove, but glass and ceramic trays cook better in the oven. For pans, make sure they have a flat bottom to maximise the surface area in contact with the hob.
- Avoid placing foil on the racks in the oven. It disrupts circulating air, slowing the convection cycle, as well as producing waste.
- Keep the oven door closed as much as possible. Uswitch state that temperatures can drop by as much as 25 degrees when the oven door is opened during use.
- Cook with a lid on the pan – according to a study cited by Ben Morelli, this cuts energy use eight-fold. It also helps to keep moisture in, reducing water usage if you otherwise add boiling water/stock to prevent food from drying out.
- The same study also recommends cooking food in larger batches. It found that heating is more efficient when there is a greater volume of food, and so a pot only one-fifth full has a reduced energy efficiency of 80%.
- Only use as much water in a pan as you need to cover the food in it. Extra water just requires excess energy usage and will end up evaporating anyway.
- Cut food up to make it cook quicker, or parboil food such as potatoes before cooking it in the oven (to reduce roasting times).
- When using a steamer, use multiple levels of steaming baskets to maximise the energy usage of a single hob. An example of this would be boiling potatoes and peas in a pan, whilst steaming carrots and broccoli on top.
- Keep pans and ovens clean, so that less heat is absorbed and wasted, rather than being transferred to the food you are cooking.
For advice on the energy efficiency of different modes of cooking, see “What Is the Most Energy Efficient Mode of Cooking Food?” (OneSharedEarth, April 2020).
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 'Energy Saving Tips', SmarterHouse (2015), accessed at: https://smarterhouse.org/cooking/energy-saving-tips
Morelli, B., 'How cooking method and practise affects energy consumption', Yale Environment Review (14 January 2014), accessed at: https://environment-review.yale.edu/how-cooking-method-and-practice-affects-energy-consumption-0
Uswitch, 'Energy-efficient cooking', Uswitch (2020), accessed at: https://www.uswitch.com/energy-saving/guides/energy-efficient-cooking/