Enjoy an energy-efficient Thanksgiving

by Beth Jimmerson

Cooler temperatures and the return of pumpkin spice everything means fall has officially arrived. And with Thanksgiving just weeks away, it’s also the start of holiday gatherings. 

Surprisingly, Thanksgiving takes a lot of energy. Between cooking meals, watching football and Black Friday shopping online, Americans consume a lot of power over the holiday. 

A few minor changes can save you from an increased energy bill so you can stay focused on amazing food and good times with loved ones. 

Use these five simple tips to keep your Thanksgiving energy efficient: 


Most of the action takes place in the kitchen on Thanksgiving. That’s why it’s so important to use your oven efficiently. Set a timer, keep the oven door closed and cook multiple dishes at once. Use glass and ceramic baking dishes – they retain heat better than metal and allow you to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.

Avoid preheating your oven. Turkeys are traditionally stuffed in the morning and roasted for hours. Since it’s a long and slow process, there’s no need to preheat your oven. This also holds true for a holiday ham. It might take a few minutes longer to cook, but it’s a great way to cut costs because your oven won’t be wasting energy while it’s empty.


With all the action going on inside the kitchen, the rest of the house will reap some benefits. Cooking and conversation will heat up fast so go ahead and turn the heat down a few degrees. The heat from the oven and extra people in your home will heat up the other rooms. Your guests will still be comfortable while you keep your heating costs to a minimum.


When dinner is done and everyone is resting in the living room, the kitchen is full of dirty dishes. Skip handwashing and use the dishwasher instead. Dishwashers require 37 percent less water than washing dishes by hand.

Scrape off plates into the garbage can instead of rinsing and make sure the dishwasher is full. Allow dishes to air dry rather than using the heat-dry cycle to save even more. Turning off the heat-dry cycle can save more than $40 a year if you run one load a day.


The second best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers you eat the next day. Store leftovers in glass, reusable containers. Before you put them in the fridge, let them cool completely. Putting warm food in a fridge affects its resting temperature causing it to work harder to reach the ideal cool temperature.

When you’re ready for round two, use a microwave. Microwave ovens are fast and efficient. They use 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens. Plus, they won’t heat up your kitchen. If you’re rewarming food on the stove, make sure to match the size of the pan to the heating element so more heat will get to the pan and less will be lost to the surrounding air. Believe it or not, a six-inch-pan on an eight-inch burner will waste more than 40 percent of the energy used.


Saving energy is a habit you should practice all year long, and the holidays are a great time to start. Just simply being aware of your energy usage can help you save energy and money. Conway Corp’s Energy Smart program was designed to help you balance increasing demands for electricity with our commitment to providing affordable rates.

Beth Jimmerson
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