Here is an idea I came up with recently, inspired by the recently launched Croft Carbon College project, operated by Leith Community Crops in Pots and supported by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund, which got me thinking about such things. I am generally very mindful of keeping my energy consumption low (turning off lights when I leave a room, for example), but I realised I could do more…
Turn off the water heater (boiler) and save ‘waste’ hot water from the kettle and stove in a vacuum flask.
My property has no gas, only electricity (though it took years to convince British/Scottish Gas that this was the case!), and the shower heats up its own water when I use it, not relying on the boiler. I only need a little warm water for shaving and washing dishes. Although I try to boil only as much water as I need when I use the kettle, I generally have to boil a bit more, because the element needs to be covered. Rather than leaving excess water in the kettle, I now pour it into a vacuum flask and use it later for shaving, washing dishes or, indeed, refilling the kettle when I next come to use it. In this way, I do not need to operate the boiler (which heats a large volume of water) and I can switch it off. I save electricity in two ways!
When I have used a hotplate on my stove it remains warm for some time afterwards. Rather than letting this residual heat go to waste, I put a pot of cold water from the tap on the cooling hotplate (with a lid and a dishcloth on top of it to insulate it) and leave it there for a few minutes. I then decant the heated water into the vacuum flask.
Cooking rice in a vacuum flask
This use of the vacuum flask reminded me that my mother uses a wide-mouthed vacuum flask to cook rice: she simply pours rice into it, followed by boiling water, and then closes it. After a while (half an hour, perhaps?) the rice is perfectly cooked.
Hay Box/Wonder Box/Wonderbag
This. in turn, reminded me of the wonderful Wonderbag initiative in South Africa, based on the old hay box idea. Click on the pictures below to learn more! All of these websites/publications are highly recommended.