Life in the Green Lane

Environmental journalist Candice Batista shares video clips and eco-savvy advice from her TV show, A Greener Toronto.

The Kitchen is the one area in the house where we spend most of our time; it's also the place where we use the most energy. Here are a few ingredients to cook up a green kitchen. Lets start with the fridge, these appliances last forever, and if yours is over 10 year old its most likely using up to 60 percent more energy than a newer model. Side by side fridges can use up to 20 per cent more power than the freezer top ones. To get maximum efficiently from your fridge, set the temperature of the freezer to -17 degrees and the fridge to 5 degrees. Vacuum the fridge coils, this will help the fridge work more efficiently as well. If spend a lot of time cooking and baking, you'll want to use your stove efficiently. Matching pots and pans to the right sized heating element makes a big difference. If you are baking check whether pre-heating is necessary. Double up, cook more than one dish and Keep the door closed. Use a toaster oven instead of your oven to preheat leftovers even better use the microwave. Keep in mind though that there are two sides to the microwave story, one that its okay to use and one that its not. If you own a microwave its the better option where saving energy is concerned. If you are worried about the health risks of using a microwave, don't use it. The choice is ultimately yours. Use a dishwasher only when it has a full load and let the dishes dry naturally. Also look for energy efficiently models, they will save you up to 15 percent in energy costs. And save about 1,200 gallons of water. To get the best bang for your buck, replace all your old appliances with energy star rated ones. They are usually about 20 per cent more efficient. This can be expensive up front, but keep in mind energy star appliances save you money. If you are getting rid of your old appliances, don't just leave them on the curb. We don't want them to land up in landfill. The City of Toronto holds community environment days, where you can drop off anything and I mean anything...from harmful chemicals to glass plates, they will take it for free. Appliances too. Look at the energy guide label, it lists the yearly power consumption and operating costs. Stoves are not energy rated, if you must go for gas, then choose one that has an electronic ignition. And make sure there is enough ventilation. Electric stoves are great, especially the induction cook tops, they are 50 percent more efficient than conventional gas and electric