On Thursday 8th November Janet Marshall interviewed two ladies who are dedicated to make life better for families with limited income. They are Elma and Florentina from Vuka Energy Saving. Vuka demonstrates energy-saving technology to people all over the Overstrand and also at the energy road shows that Whale Coast Conservation staged over the past year.
We all know that the cost of electricity and other fuels for cooking is going up alarmingly. Urban low income families often spend up to 30% of their income on cooking fuel.
The need is to use as little fossil fuel or wood as possible and to try, as a community, to get off the grid by using many different alternative energy technologies. People with little scientific knowledge or access to that knowledge are clamouring for help to cut costs of cooking.
Typically families use 90% of cooking fuel for midday and evening meals. If meals aresolar cooked on sunny days (and our days are mostly sunny) families could theoretically reduce fuel consumption for cooking by about 60% overall.
Depending on the kind of food item and the amount, the use of a wonderbox or insulated cooker saves between 20% and 80% of the energy normally needed to cook food.
Cooking with fire means fire hazards and dangers of air pollution and burns for small children. Smoke in confined areas causes lung and eye diseases.
Here are some interesting (and alarming) stats from the World Health Organisation:
- Wood smoke is one of WHO’s top 10 threats to human health
- More than 1.6 million people die each year from wood smoke-related conditions
- 14% of global warming can be attributed to black carbon (from wood fires)
- Half of all harvested wood is used as fuel, leading to alarming rates of deforestation, soil loss and increased atmospheric C02
- 75% of all wood harvested in developing countries is burned as fuel
Many families are unable to cook nutritious foods such as beans and maize, which require hours of cooking, and substitute less nutritious faster cooking foods such as pasta.
There are many ways in which people can make their own simple versions of a rocket stove and a rocket oven. Rocket stoves, because of their design, allow you to use 75% less fuel (wood) than a normal fire. A solar cooker can be made from cardboard and foil.