Ovens are the most inefficient appliance in your kitchen. To date, ENERGY STAR has yet to qualify any ovens. The reason is the great deal of energy an oven needs just to get up to temperature.
The newest ovens/ranges on the market use only 8% less energy than those found in the average home. Statistics vary from country to country and region to region, but electric ovens are the most popular with 58% of households in the United States cooking with electricity and a whopping 97% in Canada. Gas ranges make up the difference in both cases. Despite electric ovens seemingly being the more popular of the two, gas oven are making a comeback - and with good reason. A gas stove can cost up to half as much to operate than its electric counterpart, assuming it is equipped with an electronic ignition, rather than a pilot light. A pilotless ignition reduces the amount of gas used by 30% because there is no pilot light to burn constantly.
Ovens typically have a lifespan of 18-20 year depending on whether they are electric or gas and whether they get used on a regular basis. So the energy efficiency of an oven can be important.
If you are in the market for a new oven, a self-cleaning oven is likely the best choice. Self-cleaning ovens have more insulation than a standard oven, meaning it will keep the heat in better and use less energy. They often cost more than a standard oven, but the energy and cost savings over time are well worth it.
Convection ovens are also a great way to save energy. They distribute heat more evenly by continually circulating heated air around the food. This allows for cooking times and temperatures to be reduced, saving as much as 30% on energy use.
Another cooking alternative is the Induction cooktop. Induction cooktops use magnetic fields to heat the cookware, keeping the actual stovetop cool, meaning any spills will not stick. They also provide extremely fast boil times, up to 50% faster than gas or electric, while using 90% of the energy produced, compared to 55% for a gas burner and 65% for electric ranges. However, buyers must be aware of a few stipulations. Pots and pans must be steel, cast iron or another metal to react with the magnetic field. The kitchen must also be wired for 220 volts. Prices vary as well, reaching as high as $4,000.
Sun ovens (also called Solar ovens) and hybrid solar ovens are two other examples of new products available to consumers. They use the sun’s energy to cook the food. While no fuel is required, the downside is that they generally need to be refocused towards the sun in regular increments in order for them to work optimally.