The Thanksgiving holiday is a wonderful time of year, a chance to spend time with loved ones and enjoy delicious food. But traveling, hosting, and cooking can add up to major energy consumption.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce your environmental footprint during this busy holiday, simply by changing your habits. Here are our top energy-saving tips for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving generally involves a lot of time in the kitchen. From the oven to the refrigerator to running water, energy consumption increases significantly. Incorporating a few simple Thanksgiving tips can help you rethink your meal preparation and reduce your energy use.
Look for Alternative Cooking Methods
While cooking the Thanksgiving turkey in the oven is traditional, it isn’t the only way. You can use other, more efficient methods to prepare a delicious main course. Consider kitchen energy-saving hacks like using a grill or smoker to cook your turkey.
Avoid Preheating the Oven
For many dishes, preheating the oven is unnecessary and wastes energy. Instead, set the oven to the required temperature and put your dish inside. The dish can begin cooking and finish with only a little extra time added to your kitchen timer.
Keep the Oven Closed
It can be tempting, but resist the urge to check on your food while it cooks. If you’re curious about the progress of a dish, use the oven light instead of opening the oven door and letting out heat.
Let Leftovers Cool
Don’t make your refrigerator work harder. Allow leftover hot foods to cool before putting them in the fridge for Thanksgiving savings on energy.
Use Ceramic or Glass Cooking Dishes
Glass or ceramic dishes heat faster than other materials, which means less time in the oven . Using the right dishes can help energy-efficient cooking appliances work even more efficiently.
Keep Pots Covered
Putting a lid on a cooking pot can help the food inside cook faster and can keep heat from escaping into the room.
Stay Away from Big Birds
Don’t buy a larger turkey than you need. The smaller the bird, the faster it cooks—and the sooner the whole family can eat!
Cook Multiple Dishes at Once
Choose side dishes you can cook simultaneously in the oven. Not only does this strategy cut down on prep time, but it also saves energy by allowing your oven to run for less time. Learn more about home appliance energy usage.
Even if you’re on the road for Thanksgiving, you can make sure your house stays energy-efficient while you’re away.
Make a Plan
The more you plan for your holiday travel, the more energy-efficient options you can find. For example, carpool with friends or family if you’re attending the same event. Consider public transit, like buses and trains, to reach your destination, saving Thanksgiving energy usage.
Turn Off the Lights
While many homeowners leave lights on while they’re away for security purposes, this practice wastes energy. Instead, purchase timers that allow you to leave a single light on for a set amount of time .
Install a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
A programmable thermostat allows you to set the temperature on a timer while you’re away to avoid wasting energy. Even better, you can control smart thermostats remotely to warm your home before you return. Always leave the house at a safe and comfortable temperature for pets that will remain inside.
Take Advantage of Home Technology
There are plenty of devices that can make your home a little smarter. Take advantage of technology and home automation products that allow you to control your electricity and energy use, creating a more energy-efficient home no matter where you are.
If you’re playing host for Thanksgiving dinner, there are several ways you can conserve energy beyond the kitchen.
Turn Down the Thermostat
When you have additional people in your home, body heat increases the temperature. Take this opportunity to turn down the thermostat to keep your guests comfortable and save energy.
Seal Your Home
Examine your house for drafts where cold air is seeping in and warm air may be escaping. Consider weather-stripping your home around all windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
Explore energy-efficient holiday decorating options and set the mood for dinner with candles and LED lighting. Both consume less energy than turning on overhead lights. LED lights especially are a safe energy-saving choice.
Opt for Coolers
Instead of keeping cold drinks in the refrigerator, use coolers and beverage cooling tubs stocked with ice. This allows guests to get drinks without opening and closing the refrigerator, which requires the fridge to work harder to stay cold.
The dinner is finished, your guests have returned home, and now it’s time to clean the kitchen and dining room. There are more opportunities to save energy as you tidy and put things away.
Scrape leftover food off plates and into the trash instead of rinsing dishes with water before placing them in the dishwasher. This helps reduce wash time and water consumption.
Load the Dishwasher
Don’t wash dishes by hand. While it may sound more efficient, handwashing uses a significant amount of hot water. An ENERGY STAR® certified dishwasher is proven to use less than half as much energy and water as handwashing.
Unplug Small Appliances
Many appliances continue to use electricity when plugged in, even if they’re turned off. Unplug all cooking tools, like electric mixers, once you’re done with them, to avoid extra drain on your home’s energy.
Gexa Energy is one of the fastest-growing retail electricity providers in the U.S., serving residential and commercial Texas energy customers since 2002. We provide customers with affordable electricity plans, and all Gexa Energy residential plans are 100% green. Explore our energy plans today and find the right plan for your home.