These days it is important to consider how environmentally friendly an appliance is, as well as its style and functionality. Luckily, manufacturers are making more and more 'green' kitchen appliances. Here's what you should look out for:
Environmentally Friendly Ovens, microwaves and cooktops
While these don't come with an 'energy rating label', there are still things you can do to make sure you choose the most eco-friendly models. And when you consider that, according to the Byron Environment Centre (BEC), each Australian family produces about half a tonne of greenhouse gas purely from the energy they use for cooking, it's clear that we need to do something.
According to the BEC, gas cooking generates around half the amount of greenhouse gases that electric cooking does. Alternatively, make sure you have a decent microwave - and use it. Greenhouse gas emissions from a microwave are around half those produced by a conventional oven.
Environmentally Friendly Fridges
Look for the stars - the more there are, the better. According to the BEC, a six-star, 360L fridge produces almost half a tonne less greenhouse gas each year than a three-star model.
It's also important to get the right size fridge for your family's needs. If over-sized fridges sit half empty most of the time, you're just churning through energy that you don't need to use.
Environmentally Friendly Dishwashers
The most efficient dishwashers - the ones with the most stars - can use around half the water of an average model. As well as water efficiency, look for one that has an economy cycle and that has either a single cold water connection or connections for both cold and hot water. If you choose one that runs purely on hot water, it will obviously use more energy to heat the water.
Environmentally Friendly Taps
Again, look for the stars. While run-of-the-mill taps dispense around 15 to 18 litres per minute, low-flow and aerating models can use as little as two litres per minute.
It's also a good idea to avoid mixer taps unless they're spring-loaded to supply cold water. Otherwise you risk unintentionally using hot water - and therefore churning through unnecessary power - every time you turn on the tap.