Let us rethink our ENERGY usage
The decline of world fossil fuel deposits coupled with a spike in eco-system pollution and its affects on human health and global climate and of coarse the ever increasing energy costs, has inspired many individuals and community groups into re-evaluating their energy usage and encourag cultural lifestyle changes. This may involve a two-pronged approach.
Firstly, we need to scale up our low-carbon energy generation (solar, hydro, wind, bio etc) .
Secondly, we have to get serious about the small stuff such as turning off unnecessary lights, insulating your roof, saving on water usage, installing solar hot water systems etc and into this mix we can include SOLAR COOKING.
What is SOLAR COOKING ?
It is a SECRET to the vast majority of the developed world, who are unaware that such a thing is possible.
Solar cooking is a simple and cheap method by which food can be cooked using only our glorious Sunshine (which we all take for granted) as the fuel source.
♦ In this Web Site we (Stan and Jane) shall introduce you to the fascinating world of ‘Solar Cooking’ - as we see it - to which we have taken with such gusto we can’t imagine our daily routine without it. We will show you the various styles and types of cookers, outline the basic requirements of making your own, introduce you to other energy efficient non-solar DIY kitchen related devices, share our personal experiences and amusing solar stories and most importantly aim to inspire and encourage you to design, build and use your own creations thereby experience first hand the enjoyment and rewards of Solar Cooking in the suburbs.
(in the words of Bettina Arndt ” JUST DO IT “)
Why Solar Cook?
FREE ENERGY :- Whether you live on ‘top of the world’ or ‘down under’ we all have various degrees of access to sunlight which if the governments could sell or tax - they would (they have already taken ownership of rainwater). Sunlight is a free, clean and endless energy source and the cost will never rise.
TASTE :- The taste of slow cooked food is to ‘die for’. Moderate cooking temperatures help to preserve nutrients and enhance flavour. The ‘Box’ and the ‘Panel’ type of cookers (ovens) can generally be classified as slow cooking devices and when used properly produce the tastiest of results.
EASY TO MAKE :- Solar cookers are simple low tech devices that can be built by the average handyperson from readily available new or recycled materials yet produce temperatures suitable for cooking most foods that can normally be prepared in a conventional domestic oven.
SAVES MONEY :- The more you cook the more you save. In a recent monitoring project where direct sunlight was the principal cooking energy source, our average daily power consumption had reduced by 25% when compared to usage over the previous 5 years in a similar seasonal period, yet still using all the other domestic appliances and devices.
VERSATILE :- The ‘cooker’ can take many shapes, sizes and weights and be used at ‘home and away’. With some designs it is possible to set up in the morning leaving them unattended while other activities are pursued and return late in the afternoon / evening to a piping hot meal ready to be served. Some can be small and light enough to be carried in a hikers back pack yet perform like a true oven.
FUN :- The thrill that a ‘solar chef’ experiences can be paralleled to that of a ‘sailor’ standing on the bow of his yacht, wind in his sail, spray on his face watching his vessel cutting through the waves with only natures raw energy pushing him forward. To the ‘solar chef’ watching and smelling ‘pork roast’ sizzling away or an ‘apple strudel’ baking in the sunlight in some remote wilderness hideaway ( maybe the centre of the Simpson Desert or a waterhole in the Territory ) can be a gratifying and near spiritual experience. To the home body who loves his kitchen, and makes cooking a hobby or spends more time than normal confined indoors, the ‘solar cooker’ can add a new dimension to his life.
INVENTIVE :- Because the basic principles of converting sunlight into heat are ‘child simple’, the design of a Solar Cooker / Heater can likewise be as simple. Designs can vary from the very basic ‘black cardboard box’ or ‘Kyoto Box’ cooker which any primary school student can design and construct, to the highly technical sun tracking Linear ‘Fresnel’ Solar Thermal Concentrator covering Acres of land, or a myriad of designs in between. Any person with an imaginative mind and understanding of the basic requirements, could make designing and building ‘solar cookers’ a highly stimulating and satisfying pastime.
ENVIRONMENTAL :- Solar cooking helps to preserve our precious ever dwindling fossil fuel resources and reduces pollution. It is a ‘carbon neutral’ process and is in keeping with current world trends of reducing mankind’s carbon footprint and its adverse affect on world climate. The worth of fossil fuel, which mother nature has taken millions of years to create, is extremely undervalued today but in 1000 years time it may be a vital commodity so lets leave it buried until then.
SOLAR COOKING IN AUSTRALIA :- Australia is blessed with more sunlight hours than any other continent so it makes perfect sense to use this ‘endless energy source’ and preserve our finite fossil resources for when we might really need them.
QUEENSLAND :- I am a proud Queenslander living in a state that is endowed with almost everything a heart could desire, fantastic beaches and tropical islands, uncrowded cities and towns, rainforests, wilderness expanses, an abundance of wildlife, rich in natural resources, and above all are blessed with a beautiful climate. We have been dubbed ‘the sunshine state’ and even have boasted to be ‘the smart state’ . But wait a while,- – - ‘sunshine’ ‘smart’ ?- – - - so why are we still burning coal to produce something that sun is bathing us with free of charge? Is this the way we show off our smartness? Me thinks that even Simple Simon would get a giggle at the irony.