Savor an energy-efficient Thanksgiving feast

Make this year’s Thanksgiving your most energy-wise ever. Enlist the whole family—even those visiting just for the holiday—to come up with energy-saving ideas.

            Along with your invitation to family and friends, ask everyone to bring more than a side dish. Instruct them to come prepared to share their favorite ways to save energy and reduce their monthly electric bills. After dinner, go around the table and have each person share a favorite tip.

            Save your own ideas for last. Here’s a cheat sheet to help you show off:

  • Turn down the thermostat. With a full house and a hot kitchen, your house will be too steamy at its usual setting.
  • Replace your light bulbs with LEDs and new LED fixtures. Your guests won’t notice a difference in lighting, but you’ll see a difference in your energy bill.
  • Don’t just stuff the turkey – stuff the oven. As long as your oven will be running all day, make the most of it by cooking several dishes at once. A variation of 25 degrees in either direction from the recommended cooking temperature will still produce the desired result.
  • Cook at least one dish from start to finish in the microwave. Microwaves are faster than the oven and use about a third of the electricity.
  • Keep cleanup easy. Load the dishwasher completely full. With a mountain of dinner plates, using the dishwasher will be more efficient than hand washing.
  • Don’t rush to put leftovers in the refrigerator, which will work harder to cool off hot foods. Let leftovers cool slightly on the counter.