carbon2_avaThere are many ways to decrease your carbon footprint by changing what you cook for dinner: eat less meat, use local vegetables, grow your own, etc. But there are also many ways to decrease your carbon footprint by changing how you cook your dinner.

Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert, authors of Energy: Use Less-Save More, devote an entire section of their book to reducing energy usage in the kitchen. Here are some of their suggestions.

Five Tips for Cutting Energy Usage in the Kitchen

1. If you are cooking with a saucepan, turn down the heat when it comes to a boil. You don't need as much heat to keep a pot boiling as you do to get it to a boil, and the contents will cook just as quickly.

2. "Slow cookers" are a really cheap way of cooking. The cooker gently simmers away all day, using little more power than a conventional light bulb.

3. Plan ahead: get ready-made meals out of the freezer early enough for them to defrost without using energy.

4. Cook two days' meals at once in the oven and utilize the space. Reheating will use less energy than starting from scratch on day two.

5. Convection ovens warm up more quickly, distribute the heat more evenly, and use about 20% less electricity than a conventional oven.