Origin and Nature of your Food
Many factors contribute to the energy bill of the food we eat:
- The type of food it is (Livestock consumes a lot more energy than fields of vegetables for instance)
- The way it is produced (Is the food produced organically or with the use of petroleum products for instance?)
- The distance it travels before reaching your kitchen
- The type of transportation used and the quantity transported on each trip
- The amount of processing involved in producing the food
- The type of packaging used
Although some of these variables are difficult to determine, keeping them in mind and being as well informed as you can will help you choose healthy, tasty, and eco-friendly foods. (This is true for drinks too, including water.)
The judicial use of cooking methods and appliances can have a positive impact on your energy use. Here are a few tips:
- Before cooking: thaw food in the refrigerator to shorten the cooking time, and avoid preheating your oven.
- While cooking: avoid heat loss by using pots and pans sized for the amount of food being cooked and for the diameter of the burner, using lids, and avoiding peeking. Use energy-efficient cooking methods (such as pressure-cooking).
- After cooking: use the residual heat of your oven to start cooking another dish or warm up your home. (And eat raw food, such as salads, on hot summer days, to keep your house cool.)
- Double your recipe and save half for later.
Using a built-in dishwasher is generally more efficient than washing the dishes by hand. However, you can further reduce your water and electricity usage by doing the following:
- Scrape dirty cookware and plates rather than rinse them.
- Run full dishwasher loads.
- Use the "light wash" and "air dry" (non-heated dry) settings of your dishwasher.
The following web sites provide further information:
- Earth Day
- U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
- U.S. Geographical Survey (USGS) Water Use
- American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
- U.S. Environment Protection Agency (ENERGY STAR)
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), U.S. Department of Energy
- Tree Hugger
- Sierra Club, The Green Life
- Climate Crisis
I found the following tips very useful:
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