COOKING tools, FOOD + DRINK | October 31, 2007

Did you know that an AGA cooker is a green option?

classic aga ranges and cookers

The Classic enameled Aga has an interesting story. First this is the invention of Swedish Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gustaf Dalén for his wife.

In 1932, the classic Agas became all British. They are produced in the central English town of Coalbrookdale. For your information, British call our range a cooker.

What makes an Aga so special?

Besides being always manufactured from recycled scrap iron, what distinguish the classic Aga is the fact that you never turn them off.

Nowadays, the latest Aga Intelligent Management System (AIMS) system performs exactly with your lifestyle. A handset programming control means that your Aga can be shut off when you sleep and you preset at what times during the day the range should be ready to operate at normal power.

You will be surprised to hear that there are no switches or dials either. Each component holds at a temperature specific to its task: roasting, baking, simmering, warming or boiling.

The cast iron construction and energy efficient heating offer a truly unique cooking experience. It is like having 10 appliances in one. With a high-end AGA stove, you can bake, fry, grill, toast, stew, steam, roast, simmer and stir-fry.

How a heavy Aga cooker can be friendly for the environment?

Like I said earlier, the Agas have always been manufactured from scrap iron. Today, old car engine parts, pipes, gutters and so on provide more sources for recycling materials.

This is a remarkable stove if you like the old-fashioned look and have a budget around $12000 CAD. The enameled finish is available in 14 colors to match any kitchen decor. The design is proven so you will probably keep it for a long time. A huge part of green living is not filling up the garbage site.

Several sources of energy

Their natural gas used to the cleanest and lower-cost heating energy source. Now with the introduction of their latest 13-amp electric model in July 2007, things may change.

From a green viewpoint, an electric stove is easier to install and will require less maintenance. Apparently the special design of the electrical Aga results in an electrical appliance that cooks reproduce closely the results of the gas unit. The AIMS reduce the energy consumption too.

Some models can accept bio-fuels once and if they become widely available. The company invests in research to find alternate energy sources for their appliances.

The taste test

From a taste point of view, once you learn the basics of cooking with an Aga, your food will probable taste better. The Aga cast-iron ovens use indirect radiant heat and cook food gently. Food does not dry out and thus, the food retains its natural goodness and flavor. They are lots of books and the Aga stores have a kitchen for you to test drive the stove.

To finish up this post, I really like the ad with Sophie Conran. The campaign was shot by the charming and relaxed Mary McCartney, the girl of the Beatles member Paul McCarthy.

2009.05.28 Update: Debate over the Green Credentials

I would like to get your attention to this article published on The Guardian that challenged the Aga’s affirmations of being green. Personally, I do not believe people buy an Aga stove because they are looking for a green alternative. You probably buy it for its cooking functions and if you like that old-fashioned  style. I like the color options. I imagine the Aga stove at a cottage or in an old-style house.

On the other end, is it more green to replace several times an appliance? The energy consumption studies do not take into account the resources needed to make, sell (manufactures, warehouses, retail spaces, transportation), install, remove and throw away the appliances. Sadly, we do not have these numbers for those.

Sourcing:
UK site: Web site of Aga cookers
North American site: Web site of Aga ranges

RELATED POST:
+ Sophie Conran for Portmeirion dinnerware

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11 Responses to “Did you know that an AGA cooker is a green option?”

  1. Lots of new information, thank you! :-)

  2. Yes I’d agree with what you say on taste there certainly is the ‘AGA cooker taste difference’. I’ve got a 30 Amp AGA cooker and it is just fabulous.The cheapest AGA cooker to run is a 30 Amp one which is roughly half the running costs of all the other AGA cooker models including the 13 Amp fitted with AIMS (without AIMS the running costs would be extremely high).

    As far as being green to manufacturer,1.5 tonnes of CO2 is produced for each AGA cooker made which is twice the amount produced in the production of your average family car. In a year the amount of CO2 produced is 4.5 to 6.5 tonnes which is twice the amount produced by the average family home. Source AGA Green Debate:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/mar/20/william-mcgrath-aga-foodservice

    As AGA cookers last a lifetime they will carry on producing this CO2 for the life of the cooker.

    Regards

    Graham

  3. Kim,

    I grew up with an AGA cooker in our kitchen. The food that comes from it is incredibly moist and delicious. Not to mention, on a cold winter morning there is nothing better than running downstairs and warming your derrière in front of it while you’re waiting for your morning cup to brew! ; )

    After preparing dinner twice on my mom’s AGA this past weekend – I decided to do a post about AGA cookers on ABCD Design. When I googled it to research it, I found this post by you!

    So delighted to see your post – see you over on Twitter…
    Warm regards,
    ABC Dragoo

  4. Oh, and a little update — my mom’s AGA was installed in 1989. It works like a charm! I don’t think she has ever even ran into an instance when it needed any sort of service besides regular up-keep. We love it!

  5. I have now had my electric aims aga for almost 2 years. I am still waiting for it to function as claimed. There are only 2 of us and yet our electricity consumption is terrifying(£500-600 per quarter). Unless at Christmas time I never cook for three hours a day and yet still use more electricity than the claimed 28.5 units per day. Aga customer service has been zero (apparently their usual customers do not need to worry about paying their bills!)So I would NOT consider Aga “green”!!!

  6. Clare: I am sorry for your problem. Thanks for pointing that out. It will enable people to ask more questions before buying.

  7. 7 Nicklas Tallberg said:

    Aga? Guys, its swedish! When have you ever seen anything good come from that country? Their excellency is based on slick branding and Nordic incfuence which they themselves have no part in. Trust me.

  8. Nicklas: In fact, it is a Swedish idea/technology that was manufactured in Britain. Therefore, it is a little bit of both.

  9. So glad to read your opinion 0f your aims Aga, Clare.
    I was thinking of changing to an aims as my 20 year old oil fired Aga is costing me a fortune with the present oil prices, but it looks as if I will not be much better off and my oil fired gives me hot water which I believe the electic Aga will not.

  10. 10 christian said:

    AGA cookers were made in Sweden to begin with, production moved to the UK in the 30s. The brits didn’t develop one iota of the AGA. it’s like saying Iphones are a “typical chinese” product since they are made there..

  11. It seems Christian that you skipped the first paragraph where I mentioned that it was invented by Swedish Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gustaf Dalén for his wife, and that it became British in 1932.