Ever wonder if anyone has come up with a new way to boil water?
Our Guest Blogger, Peter is a creative ad man and inventor, who has lived and worked around the world and is now based back in his native UK. He also runs Junkk.com , which he created as karmic korrection for a life persuading folk to buy stuff they may not really need, helping design, find and share ideas on reuse for everyday products and packaging that normally get thrown away.
Here's his article:
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Ever since I was a lad, and waaaay before climate change was anything other than the one day in August we had a summer here in the UK, there were some fundamentals dinned into me about not wasting. Eat your crusts. Switch off the lights. Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth. Actually, not much has changed, only I now tell my kids we're all doomed if they don't. Call it a naughties version of tough love. Of course, these days you can get loaves without crusts, light switches can have timers, but despite imminent Armageddon they continue to forget turning the tap off whilst brushing.
Which is what I was pondering the other day as I stood at the kitchen sink, confronted with a big tray of our dinner's caked-on fat. Because the only way to deal with that was to spin the kitchen mixer on full hot... and watch about two weeks' worth of my kids' dental commitment disappear down the plughole before the water got anywhere near the temperature I needed. Sure, I could (and in summer do) stick a container under the thing and save it for the plants, which de-guilts me a tad on the water-use side. But there's no getting around the fact that at the end of the process a lot of hot water will be sitting, quietly cooling down, in a pipe between the immerser and hot tap. That is pure guilt - and wallet-shrinking energy - down the drain. Literally.
Which is how I came across the Quooker. It's a rather nice, and also stylish addition to the green-minded (in more ways than one, as it is claimed to save planet and making others' faces go it) homemaker's kitchen fixture armory. With a few nifty extra benefits on top, too. Especially for parents with kids who are worried about accidents with boiling water (7,000 accidents a year caused by kettles alone). And even more so those who are time poor and cash... ah... speaking of which: money.
Now, it does cost a bit more than a normal tap (James Dyson has six. Though he is of course a billionaire, too). But then again, there's a lot more to it than a normal tap, even a designer one. Just look at it. We're talking a stylish bit of nicely constructed kit here. Stick this next to a few much more pricey designer fixtures you've noticed gracing ads in the Sunday supplements, and it's holding its own. But it doesn't stop at just looking pretty. Now I've had a quick word with Quooker's representatives, and in the absence of having a full test rig here I'll have to go on what was said about watts. So those of you with calculators can start whirring away now. Standby power is rated at 10W (translating into 3 pence/5 cents a day), which isn't very much, and as it's in a vacuum except for the exit point and seals, it is thermally pretty efficient. But you are talking a 24/7 system, which is great for the midnight munchies, but does mean it is ‘on' all night. Then again, against that you have to weigh what you are comparing it with. For a start there is the kettle. Topping up pots and pans. Plus, of course, there's the washing up... three times a day? We'll consider the hand vs. dishwasher debate another day. So, for this reason, and putting my eco (as in -logical) hat to one side as this site is all about neat ideas too, for now and until proven I'd tend to put convenience, safety and style (subjectively) ahead of savings of purse (it will also require servicing, don't forget) and planet. Beyond simply being stylish for one's domestic personal tastes, its eco (as in -nomic) advantages come more into play for the office environment, where time is money.
Where I personally get excited is the proposed development of the combi version (not shown) and what it can offer in the home situation. This will not be an additional piece of kitchen furniture, but by mixing cold and hot I believe has the potential to solve the issue I introduced at the outset, and hence bring a genuine return on investment in a reasonable payback period. Even for Mother Nature.
I'd still have to run the numbers, but for that alone I'll raise a nice cup of Earl Grey to the value of getting one of those myself.