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Our Top 5 Tips for Saving Water and Energy this Thanksgiving

November 14, 2019

Nicely roasted Thanksgiving turkey

While a nice plump turkey is welcome at Thanksgiving, no one wants a fat utility bill at the end of the month.

An internet search will turn up dozens of Thanksgiving energy-saving tips, but which ones will give you the most bang for the buck? We asked our efficiency experts to weigh in.  

Here are our top 5 tips:  

1. Turn down the temp

Space heating is the largest energy user and expense in the average home. On Thanksgiving morning, if you're cooking and having guests, turn down the thermostat. Chances are the heat from the oven and the extra people will go a long way toward keeping the home comfortable and lowering your bill. Each degree you lower the thermostat can reduce your heating costs by up to three percent.  

2. Use the slow cooker

For certain dishes, we highly recommend using a slow cooker. Modern slow cookers consume as little as 150 watts, much less than a cooktop element. The low wattage will save money compared to the oven.  

3. Fill the dishwasher

When we hand-wash, we tend to leave the hot water running more than necessary. According to Energy.gov, a new Energy Star certified dishwasher uses less than half the energy of hand-washing and saves nearly 5,000 gallons of water a year. Here in Eugene, we have some of the best water on the planet. Let's not waste it!  

4. Be oven-smart

Keep the door closed as much as possible. Opening the door for just a glimpse can set the temperature back 20 degrees, causing your oven to go into overdrive and costing you more money. And bake the pie first. Your oven will be warm for the turkey so you won't have to pre-heat more than once, and the pie will have time to cool while everything else is cooking.  

5. Save while you travel

If you're leaving home for the holiday weekend, turn down the water heater (or set to "vacation mode") and thermostat. And remember to power-down electronics such as computers and TVs that continue to use electricity even when they are turned off. When you unplug devices or turn off a power strip to disconnect multiple devices, you avoid wasting standby power, which can account for as much as 10 percent of home energy use. 

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