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Natural Awakenings Hawaii

A Pono Home Moment—Kitchen Efficiency

Oct 30, 2016 04:52PM

While the Hawaiian word pono doesn’t have a direct English translation, “living pono” means being positive and supportive of others and living in a way that doesn’t negatively affect the global ecosystem upon which all life depends. Having a home that is respectful of the world and environment means not wasting our precious resources. Pono Home provides resources to help people live more pono. The tips they provide can be implemented individually, or they will come in and conduct a full assessment and make the changes for a complete pono home. 

What follows are some tips on being more pono in the kitchen. They cover not only the way appliances are used but also how food is prepared and preserved. The savings outlined assume the average use by a family of four. Savings will vary depending on household size.

A good habit is to clean the condenser coils on refrigerators and freezers two or three times per year. This can result in a 15 percent savings on the amount of electricity used. Another savings that can result in a 5 to 10 percent savings in electricity is to keep the refrigerator two-thirds full and make sure there is ample air space around most items. An empty freezer can actually waste energy. It’s recommended that if real food isn’t available to use containers filled with water.  

Don’t put hot foods in the refrigerator right away; cool them to room temperature first. Putting hot foods in the refrigerator makes the appliance work harder and adds unwanted humidity, which also decreases efficiency. 

Don’t open the oven when baking, according to the Consumer Energy Center. Up to 25 percent of an oven’s heat can be lost when opening the oven to check foods. A better way is to turn on the oven light and rely on timers for all foods. When cooking smaller items, use a toaster oven. It heats up faster, cools down more quickly, and uses as much as 50 percent less energy. 

When cooking on the electric stovetop, be sure to match coil size to pot size. If using gas, start with a small flame to target the heat in the center of the pot. According to the Consumer Energy Center, “a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner will waste over 40 percent of the energy.”

Another big area of waste in the kitchen is when food spoils before it can be eaten. Some tips to preserve produce include:

  • Wrapping the stems of bananas in plastic wrap tightly. This slows down the ripening process.
  • Storing potatoes with an apple to slow down sprouting for up to eight weeks.
  • Storing tomatoes at room temperature, stem-side down. This keeps them fresh about a week.
  • Washing berries in a vinegar-water mixture (one part vinegar to three parts water) to kill mold and drying well before storing.
  • Skewering and squeezing a lemon instead of cutting when using a small amount of lemon juice, so the lemon will last longer.  

These are just a few suggestions that Pono Home has for the kitchen. They have an assessment that includes more than 200 points covering the whole house. Anyone that wants to become more pono can contact them to discuss ways to save energy and money.

For more information on how to save money by becoming more energy efficient or to sign up for services, call 844-GO-PONO-1 (467-6661) or visit

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