Looking at this data from the U.S. Department of Energy, it's easy to see that the kitchen and bathroom account for the majority of your home's energy usage. While that probably will always be the case, conscientious homeowners can make big cutbacks when remodeling or building a new kitchen.
There are five main components to consider when creating energy-efficient kitchens:
Appliances, especially the refrigerator and dishwasher. Look for high-efficiency models using the yellow and black Energy Guide label and blue Energy Star logo.
Lighting fixtures and light bulbs. Choose fluorescent fixtures and bulbs instead of incandescent; use dimmer switches and occupancy sensors.
Windows, doors and skylights. Weatherstrip existing windows or get new ones with low-e glazing, double panes and argon gas fill.
Insulation and air sealing. In addition to adding insulation to your walls, you can stop air leaks around windows and doors and in your ducts.
Heating and cooling equipment. This includes central and room air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, dehumidifiers and ceiling and ventilation fans.
In many cases, choosing energy-efficient options will add to the cost of products and installation. That increase can be offset, however, by tax rebates for energy efficiency and-over time-reduced utility bills. You should find your home a more comfortable and temperate place, too.
For more information on how to incorporate energy-efficiency into your kitchen, keep reading.