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Have a “Green” New Year’s Party

PHOTO: There are a number of easy ways to cut down on energy use when hosting a New Year's party, and the same tips help you conserve energy year-round. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
PHOTO: There are a number of easy ways to cut down on energy use when hosting a New Year's party, and the same tips help you conserve energy year-round. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
December 31, 2014

MADISON, Wis. - There are plenty of ways to save energy if you're hosting a New Year's party tonight, and many of the tips you might use now will also help save energy in your home year-round. Scott Reigstad, spokesperson with Alliant Energy, says if you're hosting the party, let your furnace rest.

"If your oven doesn't heat up your house, which it certainly will, your guests will," says Reigstad. "We've all had parties where you have a lot of people over and it gets warm. So, what you can do is turn your thermostat down three to five degrees when you've got folks coming over and you won't even notice a difference. So, you can save money that way."

Riegstad says utility customers often wonder which is more efficient, the oven or the microwave? He says the answer is clear.

"Microwaves are much more efficient at cooking than conventional ovens; they use about half the energy of a regular oven," he says. "So, if you can use the microwave for things, do it."

If using a conventional oven, resist constantly opening the oven door to check on the meal. According to Reigstad, every time the door opens, the oven temperature drops about 25 degrees, which wastes energy. He adds when cooking with the stove-top burners, "coast to the finish" – food keeps cooking even after you turn off the burner, so turn it off early and let the existing heat finish the cooking.

Other energy-saving tips also are useful year-round. For instance, Reigstad says the kind of pan used to cook food can make a big difference.

"Glass and ceramic pans heat faster than metal pans," he explains. "You can lower the temperature of your cooking by up to 25 degrees. I know a lot of folks don't know that, but the glass and ceramic pans really conduct the heat much better."

In addition, he says it's a good policy year-round to resist the temptation to run small loads in the dishwasher.

"You use a lot less water if you've got your dishwasher full, so better off just waiting 'til it's filled up and running it then," Reigstad says. "It's much more efficient, and you use a lot less water."

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI