This Thanksgiving Americans will consume about 46 million turkeys. So just how much energy does it take to roast a turkey?
Well, it really depends on where that energy comes from, and whether you’re using a gas-powered oven or an electric-powered one. The average household using a gas-powered oven will spend about 50 cents to cook its turkey. On the other hand, it will cost the average household with an electric oven about $1.00 per turkey.* That’s a lot of energy and a lot of turkeys—and for each one roasted in a gas-powered oven, approximately two will be cooked in an electric one.
Natural gas continues to be a vital energy source in the U.S. In fact, in 2015, it grew more than any other energy source, and accounted for 29 percent of total energy consumption. Gas is being used to generate more electricity in the U.S., which increases its role in powering our modern economy, not to mention personal electronic devices and all sorts of appliances. So when you’re home over the holidays, here are five ways to get the most out of your natural gas appliances this Thanksgiving.
- Choreograph cooking.
Plan out cooking to capitalize on a warm oven—why not bake pies at the same time as the stuffing? And don’t peek! Opening the oven door while cooking can lead to a 25-degree temperature drop, which is an energy drain and bad for your meal.
- Rinse, load, repeat.
About 50 million Americans are expected to travel to be with friends and family over the Thanksgiving break. That’s a lot of dishes for your dishwasher. Since the average gathering includes about 12 diners, dirty dishes after the big feast may easily fill two loads. Dishwashers use less than half the energy it takes to hand wash dishes, so don’t be shy about loading up.
- Use all the leftovers, including heat.
Guests will also likely produce a great deal of body heat after the big meal—a typical Thanksgiving dinner can amount to 3,000 calories, not including before-and-after nibbles that might reach another 1,500 calories. That’s 5.23 kilowatt-hours of energy, enough to run an electric furnace for a half hour! Households can lower the thermostat a few degrees to significantly reduce the natural gas energy needed to keep the house warm.
- Insulate to stay out of hot water.
Heating water can account for 14 percent of utility bills, so it’s a good idea to check that your pipes are insulated and your water heater is energy efficient (a possible Black Friday buy if the answer is no).
- Air clean laundry.
And when doing laundry, including the tablecloth, napkins and other victims of messy eaters, oven rules apply—dry those loads of laundry back to back. Natural gas clothes dryers can cut energy costs in half compared to electric models, making them a smart choice for hosts. Don’t forget to clean the lint trap after every cycle!