Serve up a more energy-efficient Thanksgiving

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As you’re preparing the Thanksgiving feast you’ll share with family and friends, you’ve likely got a lot on your mind – from ensuring the turkey doesn’t dry out to anticipating watching some football or a parade with loved ones. Will you also be thinking about how much energy you’ll use for prep, cooking and cleanup? You might be surprised at just how much energy the average home uses on Thanksgiving Day.

Consider all the tasks you’ll do this holiday that will require energy:

  • Cooking
  • Heating water (for dishwashing, hand washing, cooking, etc.)
  • Heating your home
  • Refrigerating food, ingredients and leftovers
  • Lighting the kitchen
  • Watching the game or parade on TV
  • Vacuuming floors

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average American home uses about 15% of its total energy consumption in the kitchen, and about 4.5% for cooking. With the intense use kitchens get on Thanksgiving Day, it’s reasonable to assume your energy use will also increase. A few simple steps, however, can help you enjoy a more energy-efficient holiday this year:

Curbing energy consumption while cooking

Many baking or roasting recipes call for preheating the oven, but it’s not always necessary to do so. If whatever you’re cooking will be in the oven for more than an hour (such as the turkey), preheating isn’t really necessary. What’s more, if you have an electric oven you can probably turn it off as much as 10 minutes before the dish is supposed to be done, as the heat remaining in the oven will finish the cooking process. For safety’s sake, be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure doneness of the turkey and other meats.

Opening the oven door wastes energy by releasing heat needed for cooking into the kitchen, which forces the oven to work harder. Resist the temptation to open the oven door any more than absolutely necessary. Whenever possible, use alternate cooking implements that use less energy than the stove or oven, such as the microwave, a crockpot or even a counter-top toaster or convection oven. You can find more tips for saving energy while cooking on the TXU Energy website.