Hello, sunshine! Cook with solar energy, lower your carbon footprint...and your bills

When you cook on a stovetop, you are not just using electricity to heat your food, you're also heating up the room, which causes your air conditioner to kick in and fight harder against the rising temperature. You might start to notice a jump on your utility bill every time you steam vegetables for dinner.

Solar energy is free, widely available, and effective at cooking many of the foods you currently prepare on your stovetop. Cooking may take a little bit longer than with a traditional stovetop, but not so much that it will add significant time to your meal plans.

Ready-to-use solar ovens are available for $50-$300 online. These devices collapse down for easy storage and transportation, and are great for camping as well as use in the home. If that seems like a steep price tag, it's not really very difficult to build your own solar cooker using cheap materials you already have in your home. This might also be a nice way to try it out before committing to a big purchase. Find building instructions for a variety of solar ovens here.

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