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Efficient Cooking

Posted by Ted Shoemaker on May 24, 2011
Efficient Cooking

A recent study done by Germany’s Bonn University has determined the most energy efficient ways of cooking. The study, done by Professor Dr. Rainer Stamminger and his assistants, was commissioned by the HEA, a German organization that supports energy efficiency. The results were presented to the Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting (EEDAL) 2011 international convention in Copenhagen, Denmark, and it was sponsored by the European Commission and the Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy.

“While most people look for low energy needs when buying household appliances like refrigerators and washing machines, they hardly pay any attention to their everyday habits,” said Claudia Oberascher of the HEA. If, she said, the cooking process could be optimized at 20 minutes per day, the savings could be 147 kWh a year.

Here are additional findings from the study:

  • Because of its automatic off switch, the electric boiler is the quickest and best means of heating water, beating both the pot and the microwave.
  • The coffee maker with thermos pot is best for preparing the beverage and keeping it warm. It needs energy only for the boiling, while glass makers with hot plates can use three times the energy. 
  • The pot is best for foods, such as potatoes, that must be boiled for a long time, provided it is covered with a lid and contains only a small amount of water. The energy consumption can be three times as high if there is no lid and lots of water. 
  • An egg cooker is four times as efficient as a pot with no lid. Because of the automatic off switch, the egg doesn’t need watching and can’t be overcooked. Even if the pot method is optimized, with a lid and reduced heat after boiling begins, the cooker is still twice as efficient.
  • The microwave is best for heating small portions and things that need little time to warm.
  • It is most energy efficient to cook large quantities at one time. 

Ted Shoemaker, an American, first went to Germany as an Army officer, then married a German woman and stayed on as a writer/editor. Now retired and based in Frankfurt, he keeps his hand in by acting as a correspondent for a number of American magazines.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia/Oliver-Marc Steffen.  

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