Easy-to-Make Cardboard Solar Cooker

Reader Contribution by Heidi Hunt
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Solar box cookers have been popular with campers and back-to-the-landers for decades. The Kyoto Box solar cooker, an updated design, has just won first place in the Financial Times Climate Change Challenge.

According to an article in Green Futures magazine, “The Kyoto Box uses the greenhouse effect to boil and bake. This solar cooker consists of two boxes, one inside the other, with an acrylic cover, which lets the sun’s power in and traps it. Black paint on the inner box and silver foil on the outer help concentrate the heat, while a layer of straw or newspaper between the two provides insulation. The cooker’s promise to alleviate some of the wood-collecting requirements for women and girls around the world is apparent.

In many parts of the world, wood for cooking fires is in extremely short supply and whole landscapes have been ravaged due to the need for firewood. Kyoto Box inventor Jon Bøhmer told Green Futures he “believes it could halve the need for firewood, saving an estimated two tonnes of carbon per family per year, as well as freeing women and children from the health risks of inhaling smoke from the cooking fires.”

Does this new solar cooker  really work any better than earlier designs? We invite you to build the Kyoto Box solar cooker and tell us how it worked. You can post your results in the comments section below. Here’s a video from one inspired DIYer.

Heidi Hunt is a former longtime editor of MOTHER EARTH NEWS who currently provides blog-publishing support for