Courses / 2013 Spring - Curved Concentrator Cooker (Hanne - Ellyse - Davis - Patrick)

1.1. What

The goal of this action page is to invest and promote a curved concentrator cooker available to IES students. Use of the solar cooker will be made known to IES students through a program-wide lunch held during orientation week as a way to meet new people. Students will learn how to use the solar cooker and the benefits it will have on the environment. Noting that many IES students, especially those in homestays, do not have the opportunity to cook their own lunches, the solar cooker would provide a way for students to cook their food at IES using only solar energy. In addition to potentially being more healthy and less expensive than eating lunch out, the program-wide use of the solar cooker will save substantial amounts of energy.

A solar cooker is essentially a device, which uses sunlight to heat and cook food. By using a shiny surface that reflects sunlight towards a dark pot, heat from the sun is concentrated and absorbed here by the dark surface. Because of this concentration of the sun’s energy, the cooking times for solar cookers are roughly the same as regular stoves and ovens. The solar cooker has many functions. It has the ability to roast meats, steam vegetables, cook pasta and rice, and even bake pastries. These appliances are sustainable not only because they are cheap and low-tech, but also because they require no fuel and cost nothing to operate. If IES were to invest in a solar cooker, IES would help contribute to building a more eco-effective enviornment.

1.1.1. Similar actions from previous semesters

There have not been any similar actions from previous semesters. Semester after semester, Professor Xavier has taken his students to the Fundacio Terra to show how students and residents of Barcelona can be more “green” in a city environment. No students, however, have attempted to utilize the solar cooker at Fundacio Terra or sought to implement a similar idea at IES. The Fundacio Terra mentioned that its employers could guide and advise IES students on investing and using a solar cooker for long-term purposes. Because Fundacio Terra is located near IES, it would be easy to communicate with the company with any questions and concerns.

1.1.2. SWOT Analysis

- easy and cheap to make and use
- large capacity
- weather resistant
- can be collapsed for storage or transport
- does not hurt the environment
- saves money on gas and electricity in the long-run

-takes slightly longer than conventional cooking
- only one person could cook something at a time
- initial expense of the cooker
- less effective when it is not sunny
- cannot cook every type of food; food options are limited

- Can improve the growing shortage of energy fuels. Will reduce the amount of daily energy needed to make food.
- provides a sustainable option for preparing food by not relying on fossil fuels
- box cookers and other smaller solar cookers can be used in city settings with balconies

- lack of awareness by IES students
- lack of interest by students of wanting to cook their own food/ lack of interest of eating outside their homes

1.1.3. Feedback loops

As the main costs of the program come from the initial purchase of the machine, the program is relatively self sustaining. The costs of each individual use are passed to the user as they will be cooking their own food. As a solar machine with few moving parts to break, it is completely sustainable, not even using energy from the IES center.

1.1.4. Advertising

The primary form of advertising for the curved concentrator cooker will be the IES dinner at the start of the program featuring delicious menu items made from the solar cooker. This way, all the students in the program will be aware that IES provides this service and know how to use it in addition to meeting new friends! In addition to this program-wide dinner at the beginning of the semester, there will be other events that students can stop by throughout the year to encourage use of this solar cooker. Finally, there will be sign-up sheets posted on the student corkboard on the first floor of IES as advertisement as well as providing students the opportunity to schedule a time to cook their food that works with their schedule. Next to the signup sheets will be posters and pamphlets advertising and educating students about the solar cooker.

Additionally, other essential forms of advertisement are utilizing Facebook & sending IES e-mails to students. As shown below, IES must send an email out to IES students at the beginning of the semester, informing them about the IES dinner. As students are constantly consumed by social media outlets, it is imperative that IES raise awareness for the social cooker via Facebook. A faculty member from IES could post information about the solar cooker periodically throughout the program on the existing IES abroad Facebook page to publicize the program.

Example of e-mail:

Dear IES Students,

Welcome to Barcelona! IES is hosting a Sustainable Meet and Greet located on the back terrace garden! Food will be prepared using the IES solar cooker, a sustainable technology that harnesses the sun as cooking energy. We will have pasta and other easy to make comidas for your enjoyment. The solar cooker will be available for student use throughout the semester and we will be offering lessons on how to cook with it during the meet and greet. Come by and meet your fellow study abroad adventurers for some eco-effective fun-loving good times!

Hasta Luego,
IES Student Center


The solar cooker and program has two aspects that make things more sustainable. First, by cooking with solar energy rather than off of the grid in a standard microwave or oven, a person’s carbon footprint is lessened. The benefits from such a program, however, extend well beyond simply using less energy, something that is not a solution to energy problems. Rather, participants gain awareness about being sustainable and are hopefully inspired to find their own alternative solutions like the solar cooker.

1.2.1. Potential Benefits

- easy and cheap to make and use
- large capacity
- weather resistant
- can be collapsed for storage or transport
- does not hurt the environment
- saves money on gas and electricity in the long-run

1.2.2. Potential Costs

-solar cookers can range from $150 to $1,000
-solar cooker quote: http://www.solarcooker-at-cantinawest.com/sun_power_cooker.html


1.3.1. Cradle to Cradle design
A rental bike service is not only sustainable because it does not require greenhouse gases for transportation, but the bikes would be made from recycled/used bike parts. By using waste, i.e the broken parts from old bikes, the rental bike service would be able to repair by utilizing the reused materials. Bikes will not be entirely put together by older parts, however, just repairs will be made from these recycled parts for instance re-using a handlebar or a horn. This would both save energy and resources, keeping the service environmentally friendly. All other non usable materials would be donated to local squatters (Can Masdeu)—sustainable societies. By making use of all parts of the bikes for repair, reuse or recycle, it will maintain the sustainability of the service.

1.3.2. Questions for the unified survey

Would you use a solar cooker to make food at IES?
Would you cook food or heat up pre-made food?
When would you use the cooker?
Do you have any suggestions?

1.3.3. Analysis of the results in the survey

After speaking with 15 students at random in the IES common rooms, we came to the conclusion that the solar cooker would be utilized by many students. Students said that they would use the cooker to reheat lunch that has been prepared or was purchased at a restaurant. Many students have a long period of time between classes and will thus use the cooker during this period. Students say that IES should also purchase pots and pans for student use.

1.3.4. Incentives

One obvious financial incentive of using a solar cooker is students will undoubtedly save money. Instead of going out to eat lunch at restaurants every day near IES, which is infamous for being overpriced because of its touristy location, students can cook pasta or steam vegetables right at IES. Purchasing groceries is far more cost-friendly than spending 10 Euros more or less every day on lunch.

Additionally, students placed in homestays never get the opportunity to cook at home. Utilizing the solar cooker will give homestay students the chance to cook whatever they wish for lunch. Not only will students save money, but they would be contributing to building a more sustainable environment that is not so dependent on fossil fuels.

1.3.5. Relationship with the Sustainability Club (SC)

The sustainability club will use the solar cooker most often. Since all fo the members are environmentally friendly, they will understand the importance of reducing energy use and find cooking with the solar cooker to be a fun interactive activity that has practical uses. The club will help to spread word about the cooker and support its use.

1.3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

This action will be easy to sustain without much upkeep. Assuming the cooker is kept on the terrace, a simple cover should suffice to keep it from harm. A global sun oven cover can be purchased for $50. http://www.solarcooker-at-cantinawest.com/solar_cooker_protective_covers.html As a relatively simple piece of hardware, the solar cooker should not require much repair. An informational session/food event will be held each semester for those interested to teach students how to use it and after that, students can use at their own discretion. Additionally, there will be more informational session/food events throughout the semester reserved for students who were not able to make the first sesion due to schedule conflicts. The sustainability of an action is very dependent on the successfully educating its users; thus, it is imperative to keep IES students informed and aware of the solar cooker throughout the semester.

An additional important aspect to sustain this action will be to coordinate storage space at IES for students to store pots, bowls, utensils, and etc. This way students will feel more inclined to utilize the solar solar cooker without worrying about bringing their own materials to cook with.

1.3.7. Who will do what

The sustainability club will hold a brief informational/food session each semester to teach incoming IES students how to use the cooker. Faculty member Cesear would be in charge of sending an email at the beginning of the semester about the event.

There will be a storage box containing pots, pans, bowls, and utensils on the first floor, which faculty member Cesear would be in charge of managing. These cooking utensils are communal, however, each and every use is responsible cleaning and returning it back to the first floor. There will be a sign-up sheet for each of the cooking utensils. After fully washing all of the used cooking utensils and returning them to Cesear, their names will be cleared. This way IES can ensure students are being mindful of what they are using.

1.3.8. Comparison to similar actions from previous semesters

There is no other action similar to ours. The terrace garden utilization is the only close one. This is because both actions are indefinitely sustainable and will continue to be used with ease for the rest of IES’s life. Students will be able to use both of these projects whenever they please and will have a fun time being sustainable.

1.3.9. Document format

1.3.10. Copyright license of your report


During the first week there will be a meet and greet to kick off the semester and introduce the solar cooker to the new students. During the meet and greet there will be an info session about the cooker and students will be able to sign up for later use. Students will have a fun time cooking food and getting to know each other. The sustainability club will be there to try and get new members while every sees how fun being sustainable can be. There will be a sign up sheet where students can sign up for the cooker. This will ensure that someone does not find themself waiting a long time for the cooker to be free. The sign up sheet will be located on the student cork board on the first floor. The IES administration will post new sign up sheets as necessary.

Solar cooker quote: http://www.solarcooker-at-cantinawest.com/sun_power_cooker.html


Project by Hanne Yoon, Ellyse Murphy, Davis Truslow, Patrick Shirley

Page last modified on Wednesday 03 of April, 2013 23:51:27