Gobble Up Thanksgiving Dinner This Holiday, Not Energy

Thanksgiving turkey

In charge of one or more family Thanksgivings or Friendsgivings this season? We know hosting and preparing one of the most anticipated meals of the year can be stressful. And while you may have to spend a little extra on food and drinks to accommodate a full house, one thing you don’t have to waste is energy or money on your home’s energy consumption.

So, before you roll up your sleeves and get to work on your Thanksgiving dinner, take a couple minutes to look over these easy energy saving tips that will keep your energy bill in check and make entertaining family and friends just a little less taxing.

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Thanksgiving energy saving tips:

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First things first — if you’re expecting a large gathering, lower the thermostat a few degrees before family and friends arrive. All those people — plus the heat from the oven — can generate a considerable amount of heat. Turn down your house’s heat to stay comfortable and save energy in the process.

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For bakeware, try using ceramic or glass pans where possible. These require lower oven temperatures than other dishes and can even keep your food cooking after you remove them from the oven. And remember, lids on your cookware help a lot! By covering stovetop foods, they’ll heat up faster and stay warmer, longer.

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Chances are the temperatures are going to be chilly on Turkey Day here in Michigan. Take advantage of that cold by using your garage, porch or patio to let certain beverages and side dishes cool outdoors instead of in your fridge. Similarly, if turkey is the menu’s main event, in the days leading up to the big dinner, consider skipping the fridge and using cold water to thaw the turkey instead. The USDA lays out how you can safely use the cold-water method.

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When you do need to use your fridge or freezer, be mindful of how many times you open and close them. Every time their doors are opened, they have to work harder to replace the cold air that escapes.

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If you prefer cooking your turkey in the oven, consider buying a bird that is big enough to satisfy guests but doesn’t go overboard. When you opt for a smaller turkey, you can easily reduce cooking times (and let’s be honest, do you really want to eat turkey leftovers for the next five meals?). Also, if you and your group don’t feel strongly about cooking the stuffing inside the bird, baking it separately can help cut down on oven time, too. Plus, if you’re able to cook side dishes with the turkey simultaneously, the period of time you use the oven is reduced even further. The end result? More energy savings.

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Have a dishwasher with an ENERGY STAR label? When it’s time for cleanup, avoid washing dishes by hand, if you can. The perks of an energy efficient dishwasher are that it uses less water and less than half as much energy as doing dishes by hand, according to ENERGY STAR.

These are just a few simple ways to save and be mindful of your energy usage on a holiday when energy bills commonly spike, but we have the resources and expertise to help you go even bigger. As Michigan’s and the nation’s first nonprofit green bank, we enable affordable energy financing and authorize a trusted network of Michigan contractors to help you implement energy improvements that lead to significant energy and money savings beyond the holiday season.