Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 130 - Feelin' Hot! Hot! Hot!

Consolidating My Oven Use to Once Per Day

Ever since I learned about how much electricity my oven sucks up, I've been looking for ways to cut down on its use. You might say it's been a "burning" desire.

But that would be really lame.

Oh well, just one more month of using the insanely energy-draining oven and then, if Santa got my note, I'll be able to save lots of electricity with my new (or used) Toaster Oven. While I'm waiting, though, I have devised a plan that should help save some of the juice associated with the 5,000 watt range.

I will consolidate any and all oven use to once per day (assuming I use it at all). So, if I need to make a batch of granola, the kids want cookies and I'm making pork chops for supper, it's all gonna get cooked up at the same time - varying temperatures, lengthened cooking times and cross smellination be damned. This will be lots of fun -- like learning to juggle butcher knives and prairie dogs simultaneously.

If they cannot be cooked together (like if they won't all fit in at once), I will at least cook all the items back-to-back, thereby saving the energy that would have been required to preheat the darn thing twice.


I only use the oven twice a day about twice a week. Good grief, I wrote that sentence and even I don't understand it. What I mean is that, roughly two days per week, I find myself in the situation of needing to cook multiple items. Better?

Savings is estimated to be about 30 minutes, twice per week at 350 degrees, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of a little more than 5 kWh. In one year, that's 261 kWh (for you finance types, that equates to a dollar savings of $28.78). Not bad - that right there'll get me a large pepperoni pizza and a dozen wings - all cooked by someone else!

Difficulty Level: 3 out of 5

This is going to require both planning acumen and spacial relation skills, neither of which I possess. Fear not, though, I have a meat thermometer and a set of pot holders. And one hot idea.


brigidalverson said...

Be careful about cooking several things at the same time. I learned this the hard way one Thanksgiving, when I put the turkey and all the vegetables in the same oven and the bottom of the turkey ended up seriously underdone. It's better to cook things back to back. And if you have an electric oven, you may be able to turn it off a bit early and let the residual heat finish cooking the food.

Green Bean said...

I've read too about toaster ovens being much more energy efficient but here's my question: what do you plan to cook in it? I've always assumed you can only really warm stuff up and maybe re-heat frozen pizza or something like that. Could you make baked potatoes or granola or something more? Sorry to be so lame - but I really am clueless about this.

tanya said...

I found your blog while doing some online searching. We'd love to feature your blog in December for our going green theme. Check out www.todaysmama.com and send me an email at tanya@utahmama.com as I have a few questions for you. Thanks!

Burbanmom said...


I have some picky eaters so I make chicken nuggets and fries often. I also bake a couple of loaves of bread per week, and do a lot of reheating of leftovers. I'd also love to use my "mini loaf" pans for individual zitis, meat loafs, pot pies, etc. and this would give me a great excuse to do so!

Green Bean said...

Hmm, interesting. So do you heat up frozen french fries or can you make them from scratch in a toaster oven? This could be interesting for me. Thanks!

LifeLessPlastic said...

Cool blog, burbanmom! I can't wait to read through all of your posts!

On to the topic at hand: I have a bread maker that is also a toaster oven (unforunately they don't make this model anymore, though) and I really love having the option to use it as an oven. You can actually bake anything in there that fits and it works really well :)

Kat said...

Other ways to potentially lessen the negative impacts of an oven:

--Line the oven with unglazed tiles to simulate a brick oven. If done properly, this provides a more even heat and improves your ability to rely on residual heat to finish cooking items.

--Consider WHEN you use the oven (or stove). In the winter, I use the oven in the early evening or early morning so it helps warm up my living area during the times when the house is chilly. In the summer, I use it long after sunset so it doesn't heat up the house too much.

--Use the stove at the same time, particularly for slow-cooking items, like soups or stocks. The heat rising from the oven means you can use a lower temperature for the burner.

--Don't preheat the oven, unless it really is necessary. If you cook back-to-back, start with the highest temperature cooking first, then work down to the lowest. It takes less energy to let the oven slowly cool down than to keep heating it up.