4 Steps to Throw The Perfect Energy Efficient Cook Out

Welcome to Energy in Your Twenties! This series will help college students, recent college grads, and young professionals prepare for their first experiences with an electricity bill. Whether it’s figuring out how to choose an electricity provider, how to curb your roommate’s excessive electricity use, or how to make homemade dishes without cranking up your energy usage, this series will tackle the questions and obstacles people face during the first couple of years of paying their own electricity bill.

Summer has arrived! That means grilling season is officially here, and there’s no better way to spend a summer weekend than relaxing outside with friends and a delicious grilled meal. Whether you consider yourself a grilling master or grilling novice, anyone can improve their grilling game by making it more energy efficient. Follow these 4 steps to throw the perfect energy efficient cook out. 

Colorful plastic dishware can brighten up any cook out and be used for years to come!

1. Ditch the Plastic-ware
When having a group of people over to grill out and enjoy the summer sun, it can be enticing to save time on clean-up and use plastic-ware. Not only is this plastic-ware costly, it produces a lot of trash. To keep your party energy efficient, ditch the urge to use plastic-ware, and you’ll save when you choose to use your regular dishware. If you have glass dishes and are anxious about using them outside, invest in some summer plastic dishware. This will alleviate your dishware concerns, and be budget friendly as you will reuse the plastic dishware in years to come. Don’t forget that using your dishwasher is actually more energy efficient and conserves more water than hand washing dishes! So enjoy your time with friends, and let the dishwasher do the heavy lifting of cleanup.

Add a salad to lighten up your grilled mean and stay energy savvy.

2. Prep the Food
One of the biggest energy wasters is heating your grill too early. Avoid this pitfall by minimizing the time the grill is heated. By prepping your meats, veggies, and anything else going on the grill before you turn it on, you’ll reduce this time drastically. Once your food is finished cooking, immediately remove it from the grill and turn the grill off. You’ll save money by not wasting your grill’s gas. Another way to maximize energy efficiency is to plan for cool summer side dishes to accompany your grilled food. Some cold food ideas include potato salad, pasta salad, green salad, and guacamole. These food suggestions require less energy to be cooked, and as they are served cold, act as great compliments to your grilled meal.

3. Head Outside
Another way to stay energy efficient during your grill out is to eat your meal outside and give your A/C a break. This allows your party to enjoy the cool summer breezes and savor the longer hours of daylight. While you’re outside bump your A/C up to 80⁰F. This is more energy efficient than turning it off, and limits wasted energy spent on cooling an empty home.

While you are outside enjoying your energy efficient grill out party, make sure your devices inside are unplugged. Unlike other parties where you might be tempted to turn on the TV, opt for energy-free games. There are a variety of outside games, which require absolutely no energy; some examples include horse shoes, washers, as well as many others. You’ll enjoy the laid back environment this creates, and your energy bill will thank you!

Make sure to share the leftovers with all your friends!

4. Limit Food Waste
With the excitement of grilling season, it can be easy to prepare too much food. Rather than letting this food go to waste, make sure to let your guests take some home. Get creative with your own portion of the leftovers! You can throw the cold grilled meat over a salad for lunch the next day, or into a sandwich; the opportunities for grilled leftovers are endless, and you’ll enjoy the cooking reprieve included with this energy efficient tip.

Using your grill this summer season can help to reduce your monthly electricity bill. By going outside and savoring the summer, you save energy within your home. It’s a win-win, so start the grill and use these 4 steps to throw the perfect energy efficient cook out.

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Ginny Walters is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and a Bachelor of Arts in Latin. When not in the office, she enjoys stretching her legs in a good workout, trying new recipes in the kitchen, or continuing her quest for the perfect coffee shop with the best latte.