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Be energy efficient this Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Though holiday spending can add up, Virginia Energy Sense, the Commonwealth's energy efficiency education program, has energy-saving tips that can ease the financial burden of the season and allow Virginians to focus on the holiday festivities.  

If you're preparing the feast:

•Skip the preheat. Since it takes several hours to cook a ham or turkey, help your oven save energy where it can.

•Gather all your ingredients in one trip from the refrigerator, rather than cause it to 'lose its cool' every time you open the door.

•Reduce wasted energy by using the oven light and a timer instead of opening the oven door. Every time you open the oven door, the oven temperature can drop 25 degrees!

When entertaining:

•Turn down the thermostat a few degrees – or more before your guests arrive. Since more bodies translate into more heat, you'll keep everyone comfortable and keep your heating bill in check.

•Use flameless, battery-powered candles or LED lanterns to light walkways, patios and even indoor rooms to create a festive mood and save on your overhead lighting costs.

•Before guests arrive, assign a family member to power down computers, turn off non-entertaining room lights and unplug appliances and electronics you won't be using while enjoying time with friends and family. Unplugging unused electronics -- known as "energy vampires" -- can save you as much as 10 percent on your electricity bill, according to the Department of Energy.

If you're traveling:

•Turn off lights and unplug household appliances that won't be in use while you are away.

•Adjust your programmable thermostat. Setting the temperature back 8-10 degrees while away from your home can save up to $180 a year.

•Reduce the temperature on your hot water heater to 120ºF. Set too high, or at a standard manufacturer setting of 140ºF, your water heater can waste up to $61 annually in standby heat losses and more than $400 in demand losses.