Mother Earth Living

Choosing the Best Energy-Efficient Kitchen Stove

Which is better: a gas or electric stove?
By Chelsea Brown
September/October 2004
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Cook several dishes at the same time, or bake or roast larger portions and reheat for another meal, which uses less energy.

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Because there’s currently no Energy Star rating for cooking appliances, choosing a new stove can be confusing, and the debate over electric versus gas has resulted in a lot of contradictory information. The best approach when selecting a stove is to consider your personal cooking style. A Danish EPA study estimates that being conscious of how you cook could save up to 50 percent of the stove’s energy consumption. Here’s how to shop and cook with energy savings in mind.

Energy Use

Gas: Models with an electric glow bar acting as the oven pilot are the least energy efficient, consuming as much as 400 watts of electricity per use. Gas-piloted stoves waste energy as well. The most energy-efficient choice is a natural gas stove whose pilot is lit by an electric spark that turns off once the burners or oven are on.

Electric: Of the most common varieties of electric stoves (ceramic glass, halogen, and solid disk), ceramic glass tends to use the least energy. (Maryland Energy Administration)


Gas: Produces carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxide, which can cause problems for asthma sufferers and children. (Danish EPA)

Electric: Doesn't contaminate indoor air quality, yet environmental impact is an issue. The Danish EPA found that electric stoves indirectly emit five times more carbon dioxide and 100 times more sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere than gas stoves.


Gas: Code-mandated ventilation requirements limit placement within your kitchen, potentially increasing installation costs.

Electric: There are few safety restrictions regarding placement and no ventilation requirements.

Energy Miser Cooking Tips

• Match your pot size to the burner. If the pot is too large, more energy is required to heat it. If the pot is too small, energy is wasted.

• Keep pot lids on tightly while cooking; trapping the heat lets you lower burner temperature.

• When using an electric unit, turn off the heat two or three minutes early. The element will stay hot long enough for food to cook.

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