This Thanksgiving, cooks across Iowa will all use one universal ingredient — energy. When compared to all the other ingredients for the big holiday meal, energy is one of the lowest cost items.
“Dining with family and friends is often the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving celebration,” said Linda Mattes, vice president of customer operations for Alliant Energy. “Electricity and natural gas are the key ingredients that make these meals come together.”
The cost of a turkey feast changes every year. The same is true for the cost of energy needed to cook the meal. This year, the American Farm Bureau Federation figures the average Thanksgiving meal for 10 people will cost $49.12.
For Alliant Energy’s Iowa customers the average electricity cost to make Thanksgiving this year is $1.81. If you are using gas appliances, the average cost is $0.47.
Tips for an energy-efficient holiday:
· Let the furnace rest. If your holiday cooking doesn’t heat up your house, your guests will. Turn your thermostat down three to five degrees to save energy while staying comfortable.
· Skip the preheat. The turkey is traditionally stuffed early in the morning and roasted for hours. When cooking meats or dishes for several hours, there is no need to preheat your oven.
· Use glass or ceramic pans. They heat faster than metal pans, and you can lower the temperature by 25 degrees, reducing energy use.
· Cooking together saves energy. Cook as much of your meal at one time as possible. Foods with different cooking temperatures can be cooked together, if the temperature difference is less than 25 degrees.
· Close the oven door. This Thanksgiving, resist the urge to open the oven door and check the meal. One open of the door will decrease the temperature inside by 25 degrees. This means your oven has to use more energy to stay on temperature.
· Coast to the finish. Food keeps cooking even after you turn off the burner. When food is almost ready, turn off the oven or burners and let existing heat finish the cooking for you.
· Don’t overlook the microwave. Efficient microwaves use about half the energy of conventional ovens.
· Clean while its hot. If your oven needs a self-cleaning cycle, do it while the oven is still hot.
· Run a full load. Fill your dishwasher and you will use less hot water than doing them by hand.