Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2017

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This year marks 154 years since President Abraham Lincoln announced the nation would celebrate an official Thanksgiving holiday. President Lincoln’s speech delivered on November 26, 1863, officially declared that the fourth Thursday of every November thereafter would be conserved an official U.S. Holiday of Thanksgiving. Ever since, Thanksgiving has become a favorite American holiday as family and friends reunite to feast and give thanks. The one drawback, however, is that the holiday contributes to an annual increase in energy use. The typical seasonal drop in temperature in addition to shorter daylight hours means lights stay on longer and appliances operate more frequently in order to prepare for the feasts.

Here are some energy saving tips that can help lower the unwelcome tradition of higher energy bills following your Thanksgiving celebration:

1. Turkey tips

Although it is traditional to buy a turkey with intentions for leftovers, a smaller turkey takes less time to cook and saves energy. Unlike other meat and poultry dishes, it is also not necessary to preheat the oven when slow roasting a turkey for several hours. Also, recent cooking tips suggest cooking the stuffing separate and adding it in at the end, which helps reduce oven usage and cooks your turkey faster. Lastly, putting side dishes in the oven that can be cooked at the same temperature while the turkey is cooking can also reduce oven use. Just make sure to adjust your cooking timer to accommodate different temperatures. You can also often turn down the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees while the turkey is cooking because the oven will add heat to your home, especially in the kitchen area.

2. After the feast

An ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher uses less than half as much energy as washing dishes by hand and uses less water. So the time spent hand-washing dishes can be instead spent with loved ones. Also, let the leftovers cool before placing them in the fridge because your refrigerator has to work harder to cool them down.

3. Lighting options

Get in the habit of turning off every light except in occupied rooms. In most cases, lighting can be turned off in outdoor areas or the garage. Make the switch to more energy-efficient lighting options such LEDs, which use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer on average compared to incandescent lighting.

4. Household temperature tips

If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue and keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors or windows. Turn your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours overnight or during the day when no one is home to save around 10% per year on your heating and cooling bills.

The Energy Department helps Americans cut their energy costs through improved technology and information on how to efficiently use energy. For more energy-saving tips, visit the Energy Department’s Energy Saver website dedicated to saving energy and money.