Top four ways to ensure an energy efficient Thanksgiving


As many of our North American readers take time tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving, we thought we’d share some practical tips to ensuring your Thanksgiving is as energy efficient as possible.

In 2017 the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people was $49.12 according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Since 2015, the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined steadily and is now at the lowest level since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist John Newton.

In 2018 the same meal will cost you $48.90 and after inflation adjustments are taken into account, are 2.7% less expensive than last year [American Enterprise Institute].

Linda Mattes, vice president of Customer Operations, Alliant Energy says: “Dining with family and friends is often the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving celebration. Electricity and natural gas are the key ingredients that make these meals come together.”

Last week the Energy Information Administration released figures in which it reveals that despite having a higher per unit cost, “average household cooking expenditures for electricity were the lowest of the three fuels at $31 per year. Average cooking expenditures for natural gas were slightly higher at $34 per year.”

An oft forgotten, but not insignificant appliance utilised post-Thanksgiving is the refrigerator. The EIA says that “nearly all homes (99%) have a refrigerator, and nearly 30% of homes have two or more. The most-used refrigerator in a home costs $81 per year to operate on average, while the second refrigerator has an average annual operating cost of $61.”

Tips to consider:

  1. If you are expecting a large group of people for dinner, lower the thermostat a degree or two before the guests arrive. Their body heat will contribute to bringing the ambient temperature up to the same level.
  2. Use the microwave instead of your oven whenever possible. Microwave ovens draw less than half the power of your regular oven, and they cook for a much shorter period of time.
  3. Reconsider the need for preheating your oven. According to the Edison Institute, for baking, five to eight minutes should be enough to preheat your oven. They also say you don’t need to preheat for roasting or broiling.
  4. Don’t open the oven regularly to check on the progress of the meal either – this affects not only the temperature at which the food is cooking, but also the amount of energy needed to regulate that temperature.

Some additional tongue-in-cheek suggestions for an energy efficient Thanksgiving:

  1. Save power – eat at someone else’s home
  2. If you have to host Thanksgiving at your house, buy take out from a local restaurant.
  3. Pull the breaker switch and tell your husband you have to convert your indoor fireplace into a barbeque (unless you already have an indoor barbeque, in which case, perhaps use that instead?)

However you spend Thanksgiving this year, from all of us at Smart Energy International – enjoy the family time and have an amazing meal!