Thursday, May 8, 2008

Day 17 of our Green Year: Solar BBQing

For Day 17 of our Green Year, Layla and I are going to change our BBQing habits. While the barbecue is better than the stove in that it uses less energy and causes less pollution, it still is not the perfect option. This is why we have begun to look at solar cookers for our BBQing options. We do not have one yet, but we will be getting one soon to help use the most powerful form of energy we have at our disposal; the sun.

With charcoal, you get cheap fuel but it is very dirty. Each time you start cooking with charcoal, you are releasing soot and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. This may not seem like a lot from a BBQ on your deck, but multiply it by the millions who barbecue each day in North America and it becomes a problem.
As well, lump coal which is made from unprocessed charred wood is a big time cause of deforestation and greenhouse gases, while briquettes have a lot of wood scraps in them, which contain chemicals that were in the wood before it was chopped down. These carcinogenic fumes then go up to the closest thing to them; your nose.

Propane isn't as bad as charcoal, but it is not perfect by any means. It is more efficient than your stove, so if you can, use propane or natural gas.

The best option by far, and the option Layla and I will be going with, is a solar cooker. These amazing devices can cook with temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and they can be used to deep fry French fries, grill meat or bake items. You can bake, broil, boil or roast with these wonderful devices.
With a solar cooker, no fuel is burned and all it uses is the free solar energy we all have. It is perfectly environmentally friendly because no greenhouse gases are emitted, as well it uses less materials in its construction than barbecues do. They also last longer, roughly five times as long as a gas or charcoal barbecue.

There are two options for your solar cooker needs. You can buy one from, or you can make one using the plans and many of the recycled materials you have at home, from this website:

Layla and I will be making our own, so check out a future blog.

If you make a solar cooker from scratch through the plans in the website we provided, let us know and we will post a picture of you with it on our blog!