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George W. Hopper Law Library|College of Law

National Library Week: Going Green

The library is celebrating National Library Week by Going Green.  We are featuring a How Green are We? Library Report Card in the main display case, offering a survey where faculty, staff and students have a chance to share their top three environmentally conscious habits (check your inbox!), and collecting results of a carbon dioxide emissions quiz to feature in a display in the library. We are also accepting questions about environmental issues.  We will answer those questions and feature them in a library e-mail, in a display in the library, or here.

 

Ask a Librarian a Green Question

Which is more energy efficient - cooking with a crock pot or cooking in the oven?

The chart below shows the energy use required to cook the same dish using an electric oven and a crock pot.  It also gives the approximate cost of the electricity used, assuming 8 cents/kwh.  

Appliance

Temp.

Time

Energy

Cost

Electric Oven

350° F

1 hr

2.0 kwh

16 cents

Crock pot

200° F

7 hr

.7 kwh

6 cents

 You can see that using a crock pot requires less energy and saves you money.

 No matter what method of cooking you choose to use, you can use the following suggestions to ensure you are conserving energy and cooking the most efficiently.

 Use as small a pan, as little water, as little preheat time and as little peeking in the oven as possible.

  • For stove-top cooking, consider using a pressure cooker. By building steam pressure, they cook at a higher temperature, reducing cooking time and energy.
  • Keep burner pans (the metal pans under the burners that catch grease) clean so they'll be more effective at reflecting heat to the cookware. Blackened burner pans absorb a lot of heat, reducing burner efficiency.
  • If you use electric burners, solid disk elements, and radiant elements under ceramic glass, use flat-bottomed cookware that rests evenly on the burner surface. The ideal pan has a slightly concave bottom because when it heats, the metal expands and the bottom flattens out. Electric elements are considerably less efficient if the pan does not have good contact.
  • Always cook with the lid on your pans. Cooking without lids can take three times as much energy.
  • If you have a gas range, make sure that the gas burns blue. If the flame is yellow, the fuel is burning inefficiently and the range should be checked by the gas company.
  • To reduce cooking time, defrost foods in the refrigerator prior cooking.
  • Food cooks more efficiently in ovens where air can circulate freely. Don't lay foil on the racks. If possible, stagger pans on upper and lower racks to improve air flow.
  • Cook double portions when possible, and freeze the remainder. Less energy is required to reheat than to cook the dish over again.
  • Using glass or ceramic pans in ovens allows you to reduce cooking temperature by 25 degrees F with no extra time required.
  • Microwaves operate better when the interior is clean. Spills will absorb energy waves just as readily as the cooking food.

 Answered using: Energy efficient cooking. Mother Earth News, Apr/May93, Issue 137 

What are the benefits of a programmable thermostat?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, the average American household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills. Almost half of this amount goes towards heating and cooling.  By using a programmable thermostat, you can save approximately $180 a year.

A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature in your home according to your family's schedule. For instance, you can program it to lower the heat at night and raise it again in the morning. You can also lower the temperature during the day when the house is empty and raise it again when the family returns. 

So, start turning down your heat down by 10° when you go to bed at night and watch the savings add up!

Answered using:  Programmable Thermostats for Consumers at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=thermostats.pr_thermostats

Additional Links

There are numerous excellent web resources relating to carbon dioxide emissions and energy conservation.  Many are produced by the U.S. government, while others are the product of individuals and organizations. The resources listed below are some that were used in researching these topics for our Green Library Week.

Michael Bluejay: How to Save Electricity Don't let the busyness of this site turn you away.

Planet Green From the folks who bring you the Discovery Channel.

 

Energy Savers The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office's tips on saving energy and money at home. Whew! That's a lot of energys.

 

Past Displays

Legal Patchwork

Lincoln Bicentennial

Dr. Seuss: Celebration of 105 Years

 

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