Getting the LEDs In and Out
By Kate Heyhoe
LEDs are “in” and it’s time to get the word out about their energy-saving profile. Unlike compact fluorescent bulbs, they don’t contain mercury and they’re even more energy efficient. And if you use a MacBook Air (like me), you’re seeing this by the light of an LED screen.
LED stands for light emitting diode, and everything from traffic lights, billboards, automotive running lights, laptop computers and TVs are increasingly beaming with LEDs. So are countries and municipalities, including the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Technology advancements mean consumers will soon be using LEDs even more routinely.
Sapphire, it seems, is the secret behind 90 percent of LEDs, though these sapphires don’t look quite like the gemstone on your finger. One company, Rubicon Technology, provides most of the world’s sapphire substrates used in the LED chips, and recently announced its process for manufacturing the “super boule,” a 400-pound sapphire crystal that can produce large volumes of LEDs. Their improvements in sapphire wafer size, brightness and yield mean LEDs will become more widespread in residential lighting, laptop screens, smart phones, and other applications.
- Low energy consumption – residential LED lighting uses 75% less energy
- Long life—LED lighting lasts 25 times longer than incandescents
- No infrared or ultraviolet radiation—excellent for outdoor use because UV light attracts bugs and LEDs don’t
- Environmentally sound—LEDs contain no mercury and remain cool to the touch
- Versatile—Fully dimmable (most CFLs are not), with directional light distribution
Laptop and Lighting Facts:
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 22 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. powers lighting. And 9% of a household’s energy costs are related to lighting
- The typical American home has 40 sockets for light bulbs
- Notebooks typically require around 65 LED chips. Dell is currently transitioning all laptop LCDs to LED backlights. Apple already uses LED backlights for MacBook Air. Industry analysts predict market penetration will reach 50 percent by 2010.
- LED television sales are predicted to reach 32 million screens in 2015, up from estimates of 2 million in 2009 and 7 million in 2010, according to Samsung.
So keep LEDs on your radar. They’re coming soon to a screen (or a lamp) near you.
Kate Heyhoe answers questions about her new book…
What do you mean by “shrink your cookprint”?
Your “cookprint” measures the entire environmental impact you make on the planet when you cook or eat—whether you cook the meal or someone else prepares it for you. In other words, your “cookprint” is the entire chain of resources used to prepare meals, and the waste produced in the process. So essentially, Cooking Green is a lifestyle manual for shrinking your “cookprint.”
The cookprint starts with food, in your garden or at the farm; it travels to your kitchen (or a restaurant kitchen) and takes residence in the fridge, freezer or pantry. The cookprint also includes the food’s packaging, transportation and refrigeration demands along the way. Then, the cookprint grows larger every time heat or fuel is added, from a cooktop, oven, or small appliance. Discarded resources, whether they’re organic produce trimmings, plastic packaging, or water down the drain, further color the cookprint. As do the implements you cook with and the way you store leftovers. Understanding your cookprint helps put the cook squarely in charge of just how big, or how green, that cookprint will be—in ways that include yet extend beyond buying organic or local, or eating meat or not.
Is this book just for cooks?
Cooking Green is for any one who eats. President Obama has committed to a green economy, and on every level, being “green” has established itself as a national priority. Adopting greener lifestyles doesn’t have to be tough, and this book focuses on ways to be green without feeling deprived. Chapters highlight which types of foods are lower-impact, and tips address water heaters, garbage disposals, barbecuing, shopping, restaurants and each link in the food chain, so it’s of value to every one who eats, even if you don’t cook.
And if you do cook, you’ll discover that the kitchen is ripe with opportunities for going greener. It’s the place where people can make real choices, and take direct control of their impact—without letting the family feel deprived, hungry, or stressed. In fact, everyone will feel better just knowing they’re helping the planet. With the book’s step-by-step model recipes, they can do it one bite at a time.
What inspired you to write this book?
Buying organic is a great green practice, and as a cook, I knew we could do more to combat climate change. Lots more. The result: A treasury of eating, cooking and shopping habits that are as simple as changing light bulbs, and integrate just as easily into daily life. Collectively, they’re a whole new approach to cooking the basics. They include fuel and water conservation, and the strategies go from farm, to food, to fuel, to fork. They push the concept of “green cooking” into how we cook, including cooking methods and cookware, appliances, and water usage.
What makes this book different from the rest?
Many green living books require such a major commitment to lifestyle change, I think they push mainstreamers away. They provide great advice on green construction and buying composting worms, but often they don’t address common day-to-day tasks, like cooking and eating.
My book connects the gap between buying greener foods and greener ways to cook them. What really sets this book apart from other culinary or green living books is that my message includes, but goes far beyond, organics, composting, and recycling—because it also scrutinizes the physical ways we cook. My book asks (and answers) such questions as:
- Can the way I cook my favorite meatloaf truly make a green difference?
- How can I be more fuel-efficient when it comes to baking, broiling, or doing dishes?
- Why is grilling with hardwood less polluting than using charcoal briquettes?
- Is it really so easy to be greener when I shop, cook, and clean? (Yes, it really is.)
So my book is about every aspect of energy-efficiency—shopping, cooking, eating and cleaning up. In ways not instantly thought of as “green.”
- …Like certain benefits of small appliances (including rice cookers and electic tea kettles, not just toaster ovens or slow cookers)
- …It’s about foregoing the bigger-is-better mentality (do you really need a double-wall oven in your next house? A toaster oven is a better second choice)
- …And making better use of the tools you already now (did you know convection ovens produce 30% less greenhouse gases than conventional ovens? Maybe it’s time to figure out how that convection setting works.)
- …It’s carrying an ice chest with freezer packs in the car so you can do a full day of errands at once, without the food going bad, thus saving on mileage, gasoline, and time.
- …Or neat tricks to keep lettuce and other perishables fresh an extra three days, so you can eat better and shop less frequently.
And it’s realistic: Baking and roasting in winter naturally make more sense, but sometimes a cook just needs to use her oven, no matter what time of year. So this book tackles summer baking with green options that avoid ratcheting up the AC. Eating lower on the food chain is also important, and the book recommends consuming less meat, but it also suggests greener meaty options, like stretching out portions of grass-fed beef, for die-hard committed carnivores.
What’s an “ecovore”?
Our planet’s food resources can shift in abundance amazingly quickly. A fish species that thrived last winter may be in short supply this year, or a plentiful crop (like corn) can inadvertently increase global hunger when it becomes a biofuel. Ongoing drought can limit what’s available and increase the prices we pay. I believe it’s important to be mindful of our food supply even as it changes. Food is impacted by climate, and also by our own actions, which can have both good and unintended consequences. An ecovore watches, reads, and pays attention to global food conditions, and makes choices based on what’s happening now. It’s conscious eating with a “to-the-moment” awareness.
You say this book speaks to short attention spans. What do you mean?
The opening chapters detail the concept of “New Green Basics” and preview the strategies. But overall, chapter-by-chapter reading of this book is optional—it’s meant to be absorbed in snippets, sidebars, and quick hits, ideal for new-media-minds. Flip through it whenever you have time, and you’ll find something handy to absorb. For instance, there are sidebars and tactics presented in lists, tips for water conservation, and a “Green Meter” introduces each recipe with bullet points on the basic green strategies being used, when the dish is most seasonal to make the most of local ingredients, estimated prep and cooking times, and special conveniences for the cook.
What exactly are the “New Green Basics”?
They’re the basic rules of everyday cooking, but updated with the planet in mind. How you cook is as important as what you cook. Without abandoning your favorite recipes, you can bake, roast, broil, grill, and fry in vastly greener ways, saving fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse gases, and shrinking your carbon footprint. Cooking Green (the book) shows you how, and you’ll find more recipes and strategies here at NewGreenBasics.com.
For other interviews with Kate Heyhoe about Cooking Green, check out Celebrity Chef Chat at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online and, in print, It’s Easy Being Green in the April issue of Austin Monthly (Austin, TX).
Buy Cooking Green
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen
the New Green Basics Way
(and affordable organics and pet food, too)
Brown bag lunches, wrapping up turkey leftovers, fall potlucks and festive tailgatings ramp up our use of plastic wrap, storage bags, trash bags, and paper products—all of which have greener options these days. But some can be pricey. Natural Value makes a full line of planet-friendly products at affordable prices, including plastic wrap and storage bags with no plasticizers or PVCs, unbleached recycled lunch bags, unbleached waxed paper bags, recycled paper products, home-compostable plates, and a full line of detergents, scrubbers, baby wipes, and trash bags with eco-positive aspects. They even make unbleached parchment paper (gourmet cooks listen up!). The Natural Value brand sells organic foods ranging from coconut milk from pasta to popcorn; some are also kosher. Got cats? Their cat food contains no preservatives, byproducts or coloring. Check out these products:
by Kate Hehyoe
I’ve always thought the typical process of plastic recycling was more labor and resource intensive than it needs to be. Apparently, some brilliant students at Princeton thought the same thing and in 2001 launched a poster-child for zero-carbon eco-businesses, known as TerraCycle.
Essentially, they pay consumers and school groups for used bottles or other containers, repurposing the containers without breaking them down. They fill plastic soda bottles, for instance, with natural worm-enhanced fertilizer, stick a colorful sleeve over the bottle as a label, and sell the products online and at stores as diverse as Home Depot, Gardener’s Supply and Whole Foods.
They’ve totally nailed the business dynamics down: they’re truly eco-friendly, low-impact and low-cost, true recyclers, and their inventory has expanded to include rain barrels and composters made from oak wine casks; fashion bags, totes and backpacks from drink pouches; spray cleaners, bird feeders, and deer repellent (again in plastic soda bottles); and potting soil, seed starters, and tomato food, all happy and active with “worm poop” generated from organic waste.
The backstory behind the business is too cool to pass up (the guys won a million dollar business contest, but turned the prize down because they didn’t like the constraints it came with.) Check out Tom Szaky and Jon Beyer’s story in the video at TerraCycle’s website. And we’re big fans: The Global Gourmet’s garden blooms big and happy with TerraCycle Plant Food.
If you’re considering sharing a Valentine’s Day moment this year, paint your roses green.
Start with “To Pull a Thorn from the Side of the Planet.” (May require free registration.) This New York Times article reports on florists and growers who specialize in organic flowers. To which many people ask, “Why would it matter? We’re not eating them.” Clearly, we still need to reach out to those missing the message that pesticides can be harmful to the planet and other living things.
But there’s more to the issue of organics when it comes to earth-friendly, commercially grown flowers. As with food, which is better: local conventional or organic transported? Beaucoups of bouquets burst from South American soil, then travel outwards to florists worldwide, cutting a swath of transportation carbon along the way. But, as the Times article asks, “what is greener: large loads of flowers transported over long distances efficiently or a smaller number grown locally, but requiring a heated greenhouse and a trip to a farmers’ market in a pickup truck?”
The article also taps into related issues: better worker conditions on certified farms in South America; California’s growers who shun pesticides by growing in hydroponics greenhouses; and online sources for USDA certified organic flowers.
Of course, flowers are just one consumable associated with Valentine’s Day. You’ll find plenty of romantic meals and sweet treats at GlobalGourmet.com’s Valentine’s Handbook, and there’s a whole world or organic, fair-trade chocolates to savor. So whatever you do, if you make your February 14 footprint a little (or a whole lot) greener than you did last year, we’ll all be feeling the love.
If you support being clean and green, and your tastes lean toward refined design or a hip Crate-&-Barrel look, then Caldrea has a product for you. Made by the same folks behind the Mrs. Meyer’s line of cleaning products, Caldrea products are just as green, but their fancier packaging and selection of scents absolutely exude upscale elegance, kissed with exotic aroma-therapy benefits. (They’re biodegradable, not tested on animals, and really do work without harsh chemicals.)
Overly sweet, frou-frou smells choke me up, but these are as far away from that concept as you can get. Caldrea blends natural essences into such options as Ginger Pommelo, Basil Blue Sage, Lavender Pine, Sweet Pea, Citrus Mint, and Seville Orange Amber, among other fragrances, then infuses them into such household handies as dishwashing liquid, countertop cleansers, all-purpose sprays, powdered scrubs, laundry products, and linen sprays. They’ll make your home clean and dreamy, and while I never thought I’d recommend countertop cleansers or linen sprays as luxurious stocking stuffers, these can make unexpectedly wonderful gifts. (Trust me, with four cats and two dogs, I guarantee pet owners will absolutely inhale these products.) Caldrea’s website has new holiday scents, but these are the ones I know best:
I used to buy these crazy looking squashes in Asian markets decades ago, long before I knew what they were. They’re long, deep green, with ridges all around the outside, and kind of spongy inside, so they sop up sauces readily and have a pleasant springy texture. I later realized these loofah squashes are the fresh versions of the loofah sponges used for bathing, and now for dishwashing and vegetable scrubbing.
Also known as luffa or luffah, the loofah is ecologically greener than natural sponges, which are harvested from the ocean and in some places, running scarce. They’re also more sustainable than cellulose sponges, which are manufactured from wood. I’ve seen loofah kitchen sponges in colorful shapes (red chile peppers, from Loofah-Art), and in natural straw color. They’re easy to grow, too, and some backyard gardeners split their loofah harvests between edible veggies and drying as sponges.
Here’s an innovative concept: Solar Leasing. This company will, starting in 2008, lease solar home systems, maintain them, and install them (with no upfront costs) for the same price as what you pay for electricity now.
It’s called the Citizenrē REnU program. Watch a video with Ed Begley, and check out the basic info “here”:http://www.liveearthsolar.com/. Essentially, you pay to Citizenrē what you would normally pay to your existing electricity supplier during the lease term, which runs in one, five and thirty year increments. But you lock in the rate at the beginning of each term, so even if your electric company raises its rates during the same period, you’re not affected. Plus, you stay on the grid in case the solar system fails or runs low on solar reserves.
It sounds like a winning concept for the environment (no greenhouse gases from solar energy), and for the consumer (no rate increases, no purchase or installation costs, or maintenance issues for what would otherwise be a very costly venture). The company is taking orders now for launch in 2008. It sounds great, but I haven’t read all the fine print and am always cautious about working with a company that’s still tweaking their operations and their local installers (especially since we live in a rural area).
If anyone takes them up on the deal, tell the rest of us how it goes. But if they can make this system work, what a great step toward solar energy for all. If they deliver as promised, and they service my area, we’ll be certain to sign up. Check out Citizenrē REnU at “http://www.liveearthsolar.com/”:http://www.liveearthsolar.com/
Cooking Green: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen—the New Green Basics Way (Hundreds of tips and over 50 energy- and time-saving recipes to shrink your “cookprint”) is Kate Heyhoe’s eighth book. Cooking Green is published by Da Capo Books (Perseus Books Group).
To learn more about a key concept in the book, visit Shrinking Your Cookprint.
“…when it comes to the green kitchen Kate Heyhoe is really the Green Goddess. A dynamic combination of Michael Pollan, Alton Brown, and Wonder Woman all rolled into one. After finishing this book you will definitely be convinced that you can help save the planet while preparing dinner every night.” —Heather Jones, ProjectFoodie.Com, July 9, 2009.
From Publisher’s Weekly:
“The foods we eat and the ways we buy, store and prepare them are significant contributors to global warming. This information-packed volume, from cookbook author and newgreenbasics.com founder Heyhoe, provides detailed guidance for those looking to make thelr cooking and eating habits earth-friendlier. Heyhoe has thought long and hard about this topic—she cites myriad inspirations (from environmentalists to food scienists like Harold McGee and The New Basics Cookbook) and compelling statistics (“less than 7 percent of the energy consumed by a gas oven goes to the food”) that led her to develop the concept of a “cookprint” (the foodie version of an environmental footprint) and this guide to shrinking it. The book covers everything from appliances and cookware to shopping, ingredients (including details on the impact of meat and seafood on the planet), cooking techniques and cutting down on waste, and answers the questions that many aspiring eco-friendly types have probably wondered about—like which kind of grill is the greenest.
“At the end there’s also a no-frills recipe section wlth dishes such as ginger chicken and broth, passively poached, shortcut lasagna and true skillet cornbread—all featuring a “Green Meter”—that put into practice what Heyhoe preaches.”
Down to Earth books at home in your kitchen
By Janet K. Keeler, St. Petersburg FL Times Lifestyles Editor
April 22, 2009
On Earth Day 1971, a bunch of eighth-grade pals and I snubbed the bus and rode our bikes to school on some pretty busy streets in Santa Clara, Calif. The word “green” was not part of our vocabulary then; still we felt the sentiment keenly. The first Earth Day was 1970 and kicked off the modern environmental movement. • It would be a few months before Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) became our anthem. And maybe a year or two before we started wearing Earth Shoes. • Today, on the 40th Earth Day, I am not sure we are in tons better environmental shape, but we are certainly talking about it a lot. Here are five just-released food books that tell us how easy it is to make our kitchens and menus green.
TITLE: Cooking Green: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen by Kate Heyhoe (Lifelong Books, $17.95)
GENERALLY SPEAKING: Not to get too cute, but this book just may help you reduce your “cookprint.” Heyhoe, founding editor of Globalgourmet.com and Newgreenbasics.com, compares cooking techniques and equipment to help you save energy in the kitchen. For instance, go for small appliances over big (toaster oven vs. oven) when you can. Make sure the dishwasher is full before running. Use cloth and sponges instead of paper towels. I like this book as a wake-up call to the waste that goes on in cooking, and it’s not all about food. Cooking Green isn’t sexy, but what a font of information. Plus, the recipes are sophisticated and with a global favor.
THE VIBE: Your mother was right; turn off lights and don’t let the water run.
HOW GREEN IS IT? Printed on 100 percent “post-consumer waste recycled paper” with vegetable-based inks.
ONE GOOD TIP: A kitchen exhaust fan sucks up grease and fumes, so fewer airborne particles settle on kitchen surfaces. This means less greasy dust and less need for cleaning over time. But don’t run the fan longer than needed, to conserve power.
“…Scores of those half-million book titles are about “cooking green”—everything from going organic, to buying from local growers, etc. But most of them don’t actually talk about cooking green. Kate does.”
From Booklist (American Library Association, April 15, 2009 Issue):
What does it truly take to cook green? It is more than buying locally grown foodstuffs, explains Heyhoe, though obviously locavores do have a head start on dining sustainably. Cooking green is far more comprehensive than monitoring appliance use; tracking energy output, for sure, is yet another element of eco-friendliness. Add cookware to the mix of determinants, along with type of technique, the table decorations, even the choice of energy-efficient ingredients (like no-cook pasta sauces).
Ever-present sidebars are informative, with data that can potentially impact our ecological decisions: freezer packs save energy, vacuum refrigerator coils often to decrease electricity use, and trading white linens for bare tabletops in a four-restaurant chain amounted to a $100,000 annual savings. Fifty recipes, from meatless moussaka to true skillet cornbread, wrap up her go-green dictate, all belying the myth that good for you isn’t great for the taste buds. This is a very careful, well-explained examination of the cookprint we decide to leave; after all, 12 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions are directly tracked to the ways we grow, prepare, and ship foods.
“…This book will really help answer some of the more anal retentive questions that keep eco-foodies up at night: Should I steam or boil? Should I thaw fish fillets out on the counter or in the fridge? What color should my pilot light be? When should I run my dishwasher? All of these questions are tackled in nitty gritty detail in Cooking Green.”
Buy Cooking Green