Protecting the Planet on Thanksgiving: 6 Tips to Save Energy and Money During the Holiday


Washington, D.C. – Wednesday, November 22, 2017 – As Thanksgiving approaches, it is important to understand how this holiday with lots of food and celebration affects the environment. “A few small steps can go a long way to reduce our impact on the planet during Thanksgiving,” according to Ted Trabue, Managing Director of the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU). 

1. Don’t open the oven door to check on your turkey. Just don’t. 
It is tempting to quickly open the door and test the bird’s texture with a fork. However, every time the oven is opened, the temperature drops and lots of energy is required to bring the oven back to the desired temperature. Just check on the delicious meal through the oven window. 

2. Don’t make your fridge work so hard, either.
Allow hot foods to cool off before placing them in in the fridge. Putting hot food in the fridge will make it harder to maintain your fridge's temperature. Also, instead of opening the fridge door multiple times to take out ingredients, plan ahead and remove everything you need at once. Every time you open your fridge’s door, its compressor has to run longer to replace the cold air that has fled. ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators can save you up to $1,100 over the lifetime of the product. DCSEU rebates up to $75 are available for qualifying models.

3. Light up your Thanksgiving party.
Shorter days lead to longer hours with the lights on — and higher energy bills. Switch any remaining incandescent or CFL bulbs in your home to ENERGY STAR LEDs to have brighter and crisper light for your festivities. You can save about $65-$100 per year in energy costs just by replacing the bulbs in your home's five most frequently-used light fixtures with ENERGY STAR models. Find them for as low as $0.95 at DCSEU partner retailers. 

4. Adjust your heat!
If you expect a large group of people for dinner, lower the thermostat a degree or two before the guests arrive. Otherwise, since people generate heat, the space may become hot and humid, making it uncomfortable and wasting energy.

5. Cook everything at once and save time and money.
In order to utilize energy most efficiently and get things done in a timely manner, make sure you’re cooking in glass and ceramic baking dishes. They retain heat better than metal, allowing you to reduce the oven temperature by 25°F. Also cook everything at once, rather than one-by-one – same results, less energy wasted!

6. Let your dishwasher do the work.
Dishwashers require less than one-third the water it would take to hand-wash dishes. Scrape, and don't rinse remaining food off plates and dishes before loading them in the dishwasher. Pre-rinsing can waste up to 20 gallons of water! An ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher will also help you save, using only 5.8 gallons of water or less per cycle.

To learn more about the DCSEU, visit


About the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU)
The District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) helps DC residents and businesses use less energy and save money. Since 2011, as a contractor to the District Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), the DCSEU has delivered financial incentives, technical assistance, and information to tens of thousands of District residents and businesses, helping them to save millions of dollars on their energy costs. Our work is building a brighter economic, environmental, and energy future for the District. For more information, visit

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