It’s that time of year again! Thanksgiving is not only a time for gratitude and family, but also for cooking. Whether it’s Grandma’s famous pumpkin pie or basting a turkey, the California Energy Commission has published a few great tips to conserving energy in the kitchen during the holiday season. While counting your blessings around this Thanksgiving’s home-cooked meal, you can add these 5 tips to the list.
1. Don’t open the oven door while cooking.
When checking to see if your famous casserole has slightly browned on top, turn on the oven light rather than open the oven door. Opening the oven door can significantly lower the oven temperature by up to 25 degrees. Furthermore, your oven will need to use more energy to reheat.
2. Match the size of your pan to the size of the heating element on your stove top.
By matching the size of your pan to the size range on your stove top, more heat will get to the pan. This will reduce the amount of energy consumed because less heat will be lost to the surrounding air. In fact, a 6 inch pan on an 8 inch burner will waste more than 40 percent of the energy.
3. Consider using small cooking appliances to prepare some foods.
A microwave oven uses around 50 percent less energy than a conventional oven. Smaller portions such as yams and steamed vegetables are great to cook in the microwave. Also, slow cookers will cook a whole meal for about 17 cents worth of electricity. A convectional toaster oven is perfect for baking or broiling smaller food items, and it will use one-third the energy of a bigger oven.
4. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as often as possible.
Refrigerators and freezers are one of the largest energy consumers in your home, and they often account for 15 percent of total energy usage. To help conserve energy, keep the doors closed as much as possible so that cold air doesn’t escape. Also, leaving the door open for longer periods of time to take out all of the items you need will save more energy than opening and closing the door multiple times.
5. Wash and dry dishes by hand.
Washing dishes by hand can be more energy efficient than using a dishwasher. However, you must fill the wash and rinse basins rather than keeping a steady stream of water. This method will use half as much water as the dishwasher. If you decide to use a dishwasher to clean up after the last slice of pie, be sure to use energy-saving cycles whenever possible.