Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cooking Cool

I love it when the summer is here.  I don't even mind if it is hot.  We here in the Northwest have a nine-month fall every year, so when summer comes, you had better relish it, not bitch about it.

But when you cook from scratch like I do, it can be a bit of a bother.  Cooking inside raises the heat of the house, and I can see nothing stupider on this planet than baking something in the oven while running the air conditioner (not that I run the air conditioner, I am an avowed tightwad).

Cooking is different in the summer.  Barbecues are there for a reason.  Pumping heat into the external environment doesn't keep you up at night sweating.  There is also your camping gear that can keep the heat out where it belongs.   The truth of the matter is, if you use your camping gear in the city, you look less stupid getting running up in the woods.

Treating your house as a thermodynamic problem will allow you to understand the environment and energy use in a more fundamental level.  One of the big reasons that we, as a country, have such enormous energy expenditures is that we have simply forgotten about the realities of heat transfer and energy use.

It has been a great party, but I think that if we are going to devise a society to survive the storm times, we will have to take advantage of things.  Keeping heat in and out of places will become an increasingly important part of our lives.   In the past fifty years we have reduces our thoughts and knowledge about this fundamental need to a "just flip the switch and don't think about it" mentality.

1 comment:

Mayberry said...

This is something I've thought a lot about of late. Especially here in the deep south, "modern" home construction makes one reliant on air conditioning to maintain even tolerable conditions, much less comfortable. Gone are the covered porches, breezeways, large and numerous windows, and other things that were incorporated into "pre-A/C" home construction. Though we Texans do love to BBQ.... Another thought: beds. Modern beds trap heat against our bodies, they are basically a big chunk of insulation, which we throw more insulation on top of (blankets). Hammocks allow air circulation around the whole body, making sleeping more comfortable in warm weather.