Energy Efficient Entertaining

Nov 18, 2018

Serving up a side of energy efficiency with your turkey and pumpkin pie is easier than you think. Turn those awkward political conversations into actions with these hosting tips and energy insights you can share with family and friends.

Changes in weather,and use can affect how much you pay for energy each month. Starting in November, your utility bill may be higher because:

  • The temperature dropped. When the weather is colder, you likely use more energy to heat your home.

  • Energy use is up. With the holidays, you have guests and use more energy for cooking, cleaning, and lighting.

But, don’t fret! There are a number of things you can do to help reduce your energy use over the holiday season. We’ve gathered a few below.

holiday entertaining and energy use

Adjust your thermostat. If you’re cooking a big dinner or having guests over, lower the temperature two degrees. Don’t worry—your guests won’t notice. The oven and extra bodies in the room will generate enough heat to help keep your home toasty. If you’re headed out of town to visit relatives, be sure to use the “vacation setting.” This will help you save energy if you’re away for longer than a day. You only need to set the thermostat 5 degrees lower than normal.

Be prepared. By thawing food overnight in the refrigerator, gathering ingredients, and chopping and prepping food before heating up the stove or oven, you reduce the amount of time the appliance is on.

To preheat or not? Preheating the oven is something we all do, but it’s not always necessary. According to Epicurious, preheating the oven is only necessary with foods that need to have a certain level of heat right off the bat. If you don’t have to preheat, then you save both time and energy.

Size matters. Make sure your cookware is clean, the lids fit, and it's the right size for the burner you’re using. A 6” pot on an 8” burner can waste more than 40% of the burner’s heat.

More is better. Cook multiple dishes in the oven at the same time to save energy.

Choose glass or ceramic. These pans hold heat better than metal ones, letting you cook dishes for the same amount of time at a lower temperature (as much as 25 degrees!).

Don’t peek! Opening the oven allows the heat to escape and lowers the oven temperature about 25 degrees, which means it takes more time and energy to cook your food. Use the oven light if you want to check on your food’s progress.

Use small kitchen appliances. Microwaves, toaster ovens, and slow cookers can use 75% less energy than a large electric oven.

Time to cool off. Give your food time to cool entirely before you refrigerate it. Putting warm food in the refrigerator makes it work harder to cool.

Scrape those plates. Scraping your dishes (instead of rinsing them) saves water and the energy used to heat it.

Full loads only. Make sure your dishwasher is fully loaded before you run it to get the maximum use of energy.

Let dishes dry naturally. Use the air-dry option. If your dishwasher doesn't have one, prop the door open to allow dishes to air-dry after the final rinse.

If you're reading this, you are probably an energy professional, so jump on those opportunities during dinner conversations to offer up free advice. Offer to help Aunt Sue shop for LED light bulbs and holiday lights or help Grandpa with some weatherstripping. Provide proof that yes, you do indeed save money using the dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand. And share some online resources like those in our Energy Calculators blog and Talking Energy Efficiency with Kids. Maybe even start thinking about who needs a smart power strip for the holidays.

For more tips and information on energy efficiency this holiday season, check out these websites:

Tips to Save Energy During the Holidays

5 Easy Tips To Save Energy This Holiday Season

Four Energy Tips to Help you Survive the Holidays

Energy Saving Tips to Make your Holiday More Energy Efficient