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Think carbon dioxide, the most abundant heat-trapping climate change gas in the sky. It’s the main cause of climate change and we produce lots of it in our kitchens. In the American home, the kitchen uses 25% of the electricity. When we shop, cook, and wash, we  indirectly or directly use carbon-based energy sources (natural gas, oil/gasoline, and coal). Reducing your Carbon Footprint in the kitchen is a huge green step—this means reducing your energy use.

Focus on your refrigerator:

Your refrigerator, freezer, oven, and dishwasher account for the bulk of the energy consumed in your kitchen. The refrigerator is the top user, consuming 51% of all kitchen energy.  The oven/stove accounts for about 18%, the freezer 13%, and dishwasher 10%.

Your best green move—if you have an old refrigerator and you can afford it, buy an Energy Star rated, fuel efficient model.

Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator and adjust the temperature to stay between 39-40 degrees F. Food needs to be stored at below 40 to prevent germ growth but lower than 39 is a waste of electricity. Keep a thermometer in your fridge. Your temperature gauge will need to be turned up or down in the summer or winter to maintain a constant temperature inside the refrigerator.

Do not overcrowd your refrigerator. If the refrigerator is too full it will take extra electricity to keep temperatures down.

Defrost whenever you see any ice build up.

Make sure your refrigerator seal is air tight. To check: open the door, put a piece of paper in the door jam, and close. If the paper slips out, the seal is old and should be replaced.

Keep your coils free of dust. These are on the back of the fridge. To keep them clean you need to pull the fridge away from the wall and vacuum them.

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