With the holiday season in full swing, many of us are excited to host holiday parties in our homes. But did you know that these festive gatherings can take a heavy toll on your energy bill? Not to worry, GVEC has some energy efficiency tips to help you keep your electric bill down while still being the host or hostess with the mostess!
A Recipe for Energy Efficiency
Whether it be a Thanksgiving, Christmas or a New Year’s gathering, these three holidays have one thing in common. Can you take a guess? It’s FOOD! We all know the party isn’t a hit without delicious appetizers, entrées and desserts galore. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that cooking alone accounts for 4 percent of total home energy use, and this figure doesn’t include the energy costs associated with refrigeration, water heating and dishwashing. With that being said, we figured we’d start with some cooking tips to get you by this holiday season.
Cooking tips to save some $$ on your energy bill:
When cooking, don’t open the oven door to check the progress of the food cooking. Every time the door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by as much as 25 degrees, forcing it to use more energy to return to the proper cooking temperature. Instead, use the oven light and the window to look at the dishes.
- For recipes that need to bake longer than an hour, preheating isn’t necessary. Just stick your entrée into the oven!
- Cooking times can be reduced by using a roasting pan’s lid or an oven bag. Shorter cooking times mean less energy being used! That’s less work for you and your oven.
- If you use a ceramic or glass dish for baking, you can typically set your oven for 25 degrees less than the recipe directs. Because ceramic and glass hold heat better than metal pans, your dish will cook just as well at a lower temperature.
- A slow cooker, microwave, toaster oven or warming plate can do the same job of cooking some dishes with less electricity.
- For example, the average toaster oven can use about half the energy of the average electric stove over the same cooking time.
- Consider buying a fresh turkey or ham this holiday season. The thawing process forces the fridge to work harder than usual, so in the case of cooking a turkey or ham remember that it can take days for frozen-solid meat to thaw in the refrigerator—about 24 hours for every five pounds.
- If you’re hosting a smaller holiday celebration, in the case of Thanksgiving, consider cooking only parts of a turkey. Roasting just a breast or the legs and thighs—or a smaller bird—takes less energy to prepare and creates less waste if you can’t finish all of the leftovers.
- At the end of the party, make sure the food is cooled down to room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator. Hot or warm food requires more energy to chill. But don’t hesitate to pack in the leftovers, as a stuffed refrigerator is more energy-efficient than a bare one.
These may seem like small things, but they do add up!
Keeping it Cool for Your Guests
Another energy sucker that we battle when hosting a holiday party is getting the temperature right. When it’s cold outside we tend to crank the heater up before our guests arrive, but with cooking going on in the kitchen and a room full of people, it can quickly get stuffy in a home. So here are some tips to keep you and your guests cool while hosting.
Keep it cool with these tips:
- Open a few windows! This will help keep the air circulating which will keep the kitchen cooler and help odors leave the house. Opening windows instead of turning down the AC/heating system will help save energy.
- Alternative solution: turn your ceiling fans on.
- When you are done baking, turn off the oven! Baking can heat up the kitchen tremendously.
- Start baking in the morning. The house and outside temperatures are usually cooler in the morning than in the afternoon. The more cooking done before noon, the more comfortable your home will be later.
Will you take the extra step to help save?
As small as these adjustments may seem, they truly can help knock some dollars off of your energy bill. Hosting is much more enjoyable when the stress of bills aren’t weighing you down. Treat yourself with the money you’d save by following these simple tips and be the host that everyone envies!
For more tips to help you save, visit our home efficiency tips page!