Summer is back! It’s warm outside, the sun is shining, and the days are long. It is time to go outside and light up the grill.
When cooking outdoors this year, you might appreciate knowing that the good, reliable, standard American propane grill is a great option for your eats as well as the environment. Whether you call it a cookout, a barbecue, or just dinner—the climate-friendly attributes of propane serve up a number of bonuses.
Compared to charcoal grills or wood smokers, propane is cleaner in a number of ways. With propane, you don’t get ashes or soot. Soot interacts with the air and sunlight to form smog, and even a little of that is harmful to people, especially those with lung conditions like asthma.
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, propane burns cleaner than charcoal or regular wood. Charcoal is carbonized wood – super-heated in the absence of oxygen to remove impurities and water. The standard shaped briquettes are made of sawdust and a binding agent, while the more natural looking hardwood lump charcoal is made exclusively from hardwood. According to a 2009 study in the Environmental Impact Assessment Review, the charcoal grilling footprint is “almost three times as large as that for LPG [propane] grilling.” Furthermore, the study noted that propane is “dramatically more efficient than charcoal in its production and considerably more efficient in cooking.” This means propane is better for the environment than charcoal regarding how it is produced and how it is used to cook your food.
It isn’t clear exactly how much a wood-fired smoker emits in relation to a propane grill. However, in general, burning wood emits more greenhouse gases than burning fossil fuels. It is said that a wood fire in a fireplace emits 40 times as much in emissions as a propane fire. You can see the soot in the air from burning wood, but the CO2, which can’t be seen, contributes to atmospheric CO2.
Reduce Energy Use
Another bonus that’s often overlooked: On hot summer nights, cooking outside also conserves electricity. Kitchen cooking causes the temperature inside the house to rise, which generally requires more air conditioning to return to a comfortable temperature. Fossil fuels generate the clear majority of the power for electric ovens and stoves, and, of course, the power for air conditioning. In the United States in 2020, 60.3% of all utility-scale electricity generation came from fossil fuels. By cooking outside and cutting your air conditioning usage, you are also minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
Moreover, using propane grills help to alleviate stress on the power grid, which is often overburdened during periods of high temperatures. Just this month, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) urged Texans to conserve electricity from June 14 to June 18. ERCOT said more plants were going offline than expected, and it feared problems due to high temperatures. Nevertheless, Monday, June 14, saw more power usage in Texas than ever before in June. Cooking outdoors on a propane grill is a great option when the electrical grid’s capacity is so stressed.
So, go outside this summer and enjoy yourself. Turn the knob on the tank, flick the ignition and light up the propane grill. Cook a great dinner for your family, and know that as you grill, you are doing right by the environment too.