Microwaves

Microwaves can offer considerable savings in energy and time when compared to conventional electric cooking, and even more when compared to gas. The following savings were identified by the Market Transformation Programme.1

FoodEnergy-savingMicrowaveComparison
New potatoes70 - 75%Little waterUsing more water, pan on hob
Fresh salmon fillet63 - 78%No waterPoached in water on hob
Single frozen 'ready meal'55 – 73%Microwave onlyElectric oven
Lasagne40 - 81%Microwave onlyElectric oven
Indian 'ready meal'38 – 63%Microwave onlyElectric oven
Milk25 - 50%Up to 800g in 200g portions in mugsSaucepan on the hob
Baked potatoes21 – 61%Convection and microwaveElectric oven
Frozen vegetables65%Little waterUsing more water, pan on hob
Whole chicken23%Convection and microwaveElectric oven
Frozen pizza22%Convection and microwaveElectric oven

The MTP came to these broad conclusions as a result of their tests:

  • microwaves are best for single serves or sometimes two portions, for larger quantities there is often little or no energy saving
  • they are especially good at warming pre-cooked and ready-to-eat meals
  • much of the energy saving comes from heating less water; steaming may give the same effect using a conventional hob
  • if more than one food is being cooked at the same time putting them in the oven together may be more energy efficient

1 Market Transformation Programme, 2007, BNCK07: Comparing energy use in microwave ovens with traditional electric fuelled methods para 4 (Download as PDF)