With such a wide range of energy efficient appliances from which to choose — including natural gas and electric cooktops, highly efficient electric and natural gas ovens — you’re spoilt for choice in the kitchen.
Cooking with natural gas
There's a wide variety of natural gas cooktops, so you should be able to find a design to fit your needs. For example, if you use a wok you can get a cooktop with one high-speed burner and a trivet especially designed to hold a round-bottomed wok. Or you can get a rectangular five-burner unit with four regular burners and an oblong (or fish) burner in the middle. You can also put a grill over it for barbecuing or, if you're not using it, cover it up and use it as a pot stand.
Cooking with electricity
You can choose from a range of energy efficient electric home cooking appliances, including highly efficient ovens, cooktops and range hoods. For cooking, heat sources range from traditional radiant coils and solid hotplates, to the latest in instant response induction and halogen cooktops.
Types of electric cooktops
Induction cooktops work by electromagnetically heating the metal of a saucepan. This technology has a distinct safety advantage because the cooktop itself does not become the heat source. Induction cooktops are faster and more efficient than gas, with superior controls that hold temperature to within 1°C.
Induction cooktops come with advanced features, such as stand by, non-operating mode, auto-stop function, automatic-scanning functions and small-objects detector. They are also available as portable units.
Pots and pans made of iron, enamel steel, certain stainless steels and types of glass cookware with metal bases can be used.
The tungsten lamps in halogen cooktops use the energy of light to transfer heat to the saucepan. The heat is instant and gives you precise temperature control for faster cooking and better results. Halogen cooktops have no corners, grooves or grills, making cleaning a breeze.
Ceramic cooktops are versatile and economic. The heating elements are contained under a plate of ceramic glass, which presents a modern and stylish look that is exceptionally easy to clean. The flat, uninterrupted surface also provide extra bench space or preparation areas when the cooktop is not in use.
Ceramic cooktops provide rapid heat transfer and are ideal for almost every kind of cooking. Some ceramic cooktops come with dual-circuit elements. By selecting only the inner circle when heating a small pot, you will save energy.
Coiled metal elements are cheap, have similar heat-up times to ceramic cooktops and are slightly more controllable. The coils can be difficult to clean; some have a hinge so you can lift them for easier access to the drip trays underneath.
The solid hotplate is a solid metal disc that is generally as fast as other electric elements to heat up, but extremely slow to cool down, making them the least controllable of all cooktops. Solid hotplates can be cast or sintered, and the different manufacturing processes involved make a difference to their energy efficiency — cast hotplates are the least efficient of all, while sintered ones are about the same as ceramic radiant.
Options and advice
Visit an ActewAGL Energy Shop to obtain advice on a cooktop to best suit your needs.