Skip to main content
Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011

YouGen Blog

Monbiot launches war on Agas

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 January 2009 at 10:34 am

Agas are the antithesis of energy efficiency and renewable energy, so when I heard on the Today programme this morning that George Monbiot has launched a war on Agas in today's Guardian a lightbulb pinged on. Why didn't I use Agas as the ultimate example of the heart winning over head in yesterday's blog?

It's always been a bit of a mystery to me why Agas are such a status symbol. You can't fine tune the temperature when cooking as you can on a gas hob, and the kitchen's always too hot in summer, but that's just the rational part of me speaking. That part also points out that they cost a lot to buy and to run and they belch out carbon at a terrifying rate.

Monbiot calculates that "a large Aga running on coal turns out nine tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, five and a half times the total CO2 production of the average UK home". Compare that with the much vilified patio heater (which would have to burn continuously for nine months to emit as much carbon dioxide) and I wonder why Agas are still so desirable. What do they say about the owner, that makes them such a must-have part of the ideal country kitchen?

While the example above is the extreme, smaller Agas with less carbon emitting fuels, are still far from benign. A two or three oven LPG fired Aga without a boiler uses 60 litres of fuel a week. This translates to carbon emissions of about four and a half tonnes a year.

Of course not all ranges are equal. One fired with biomass, with a back boiler that heats water and / or radiators is a much more sensible (and I'd say desirable) prospect. But it involves work to keep it fed. I guess this may count against it as a status symbol. And what of payback? I've never heard anyone mention it in the same sentence as an Aga. Have you?

Photo by Tanais


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

Like this blog? Keep up to date with our free monthly newsletter


2 comments - read them below or add one


fuelexplorerComment left on: 20 May 2010 at 1:06 am

I got rid of my coal Aga when is was ruined by flooding.  I did however get another, a Six Four which has gas hobs and electrical ovens.  The coal Aga kept the kitchen warm in winter and was off in the summer.  To counteract the loss of heat I installed underfloor heating in the kitchen area. Lovely jubbly!  Just one word of warning, my Aga takes an age for the ovens to come to temperature.  This ought to be a key information point on all cookers.

report abuse


ksousaComment left on: 13 January 2009 at 8:28 pm

I had no idea that the Carbon output of an Aga could be so high! I wonder how long it will be until the Government intervenes and forces manufacturers to put labels detailing CO2 emissions on everything sold which emits carbon?

report abuse

Leave a comment

You must log in to make a comment. If you haven't already registered, please sign up as a company or an individual, then come back and have your say.