Eco-Friendly Grilling: Should You Choose Gas or Charcoal?

For many, the word “summer” conjures images of firing up the grill and enjoying some good weather with friends and family. Did you know that this beloved past time is also a good way to cut down on your home’s energy costs? Choosing to grill outside can keep you from using your stove, and keeping your stove off can save you a lot of money. What’s more, it will put less of a burden on your air conditioner and HVAC system!

But while grilling is clearly energy efficient, is it eco-friendly?

Is grilling better for the environment than cooking inside with your oven?

The answer depends on where your energy is coming from. And for your grill, it depends on what type of fuel source you are using.

A grill running on natural gas is the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly way to barbecue—it is even better for the environment than using electricity!

The one exception, of course, is electricity from renewable energy sources. You can’t beat zero emissions!

What’s the best grill option?

Beyond being eco-friendly, your ideal grill should also be reasonably priced, as well as easy to find and operate. Therefore, the easy answer to this question is still natural gas grills: they are widely available, easy to use, and incredibly eco-friendly.

In terms of availability, ease of use, and price, the only real competitor to the natural gas grill is the tried and true charcoal briquette grill. However, since we’re trying to measure eco-friendliness, the charcoal grill ultimately falls flat.

Both grills certainly have their fair share of pollutants, but charcoal also has some nasty volatile organic compounds and particulate matter such as byproducts that will pollute the air around the grill. These emissions can lead to health problems if inhaled, and they can even damage the ozone!

Cleaner alternatives?

There are also a few alternatives to gas and charcoal grills that offer varying levels of energy efficiency and eco-friendliness.

Pellet grills, for example, run on compressed wood nuggets and burn more efficiently and cleaner than charcoal grills. The catch, though, is that they require a small amount of electricity to operate.

There are also renewable energy grills that can cut your emissions down to zero! The GoSun Stove is the perfect example: it collects solar energy from the sun and stores it in an internal battery that can be used at a later date. The one downside to this brilliant design: it doesn’t have a flat, wide surface like conventional grills and is therefore not the best option for getting that char on a hot dog or burger. But you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you’re helping the environment!

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