7 Tips For A You-Beaut, Energy-Efficient Aussie Christmas Feast

7 tips for a you-beaut, energy-efficient Christmas

We all know Christmas Down Under can be a ripper of a time, but between the cooking chaos and the relatives causing mayhem, thinking about energy efficiency might be the last thing on your mind. Fair enough, I get it.

But, for those who can’t stand the thought of wasting a single watt and can’t even bear to see a festive Christmas light left on in an empty room, this one’s for you. Share it with your household mates if you dare.

At the risk of being labelled a Grinch, here are seven tips for a you-beaut, energy-efficient Aussie Christmas feast that won’t max out your energy bill.

Tip #1: Maximize Solar Self-Consumption

Top of the list, as you know, is solar self-consumption. SolarQuotes has been banging on about this for years. Forget about measly feed-in tariffs – this is about cashing in on the Aussie sun. Fire up those kitchen appliances during peak sun hours, not peak tariff hours, and watch those savings climb quicker than a gecko up a gum tree.

Tip #2: Cook Outside (in the shade)

I don’t mean ‘you’ cook outside. I’m talking about the food, so grab some shade. If the forecast for the big day is 30+, it might be time to embrace the Aussie spirit and wheel out the electric BBQ. You’d be a bit of a dill turning the kitchen into a sauna when it’s better fun having a beer outside with the crowd anyway. Trust me, your air conditioner will thank you.

Tip #3: Stagger Your Cooking Hours

This one’s a hard sell. The cook may not have the same perspective as your good self when organizing the rollout of a three-course dinner menu for the extended family. Some careful planning delivered tactfully to the stressed-out boss chef is in order. In a nutshell, spreading the electrical loads across the day will help to stay under the solar production curve and avoid paying for grid power.

Tip #4: Smart Appliance Choice

Preference using low-powered appliances, like slow cookers, over a longer period, rather than high-powered over a shorter time. Sure, it might be similar energy use, but, like staggering cooking hours, you’re more likely to avoid loads above the solar production curve. It also helps smooth out the spikes and troughs for a happy electricity grid. And a tasty meal needs time to infuse those culinary flavours, right?

While we’re at it, we better use the right tool for the job. There’s no point turning on the oven when an air fryer will do at only half the power rating. You wouldn’t use a chainsaw to trim the garden hedge, would you?.. You would?

Tip #5: Change Up The Menu

Here’s another one that might need some subtlety when suggesting it to the head chef. It could ruin their whole day and yours in the process. Consider changing the menu to include recipes that use less energy to prepare. Is a roast turkey in the middle of a stinking hot Aussie summer day really appropriate? How about throwing some prawns on the electric barbie, or a cold seafood platter? Perfect with a cold beer.

Tip #6: Postphone The Dishwashing.

And again, if you’re in charge of washing up, you might get into strife for following my advice to the letter. Hold off with the dishwasher until tomorrow if you can. At least try to use it strategically between other electrical loads, preferably during sun hours.

Or, then again, to hell with it. You’ll probably be half-cut by then, anyway. How about trying to act like a normal person and forget about this energy-efficiency stuff for just one day in your life? It’s Christmas!

Tip #7: Treat Yourself To A Kitchen Upgrade

Since you’ve been hemorrhaging money on extravagant family presents during the festive season, why not loosen your wallet some more? Go on, give yourself permission to buy that long-awaited energy-efficient electric cooking appliance for Christmas. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking Boxing Day sales. Are you with me? You deserve it.

Confession From The Solar Grinch

Take all this advice with a pinch of salt because if the truth is known, my wife will gladly tell you that although I know a thing or two about electricity, I’m not the one who’s flipping the burgers at our place.

My culinary prowess may be limited, but I hope you have a delish Christmas feast with a sizzle and not a power fizzle. Wishing you a merry Christmas, happy holidays, or whatever you want to call it.

About Kim Wainwright

A solar installer and electrician in a previous life, Kim has been blogging for SolarQuotes since 2022. He enjoys translating complex aspects of the solar industry into content that the layperson can understand and digest. He spends his time reading about renewable energy and sustainability, while simultaneously juggling teaching and performing guitar music around various parts of Australia. Read Kim's full bio.

Comments

  1. There are a couple of mentions of electric BBQs in the article. I have been researching the options available for many months to find none of them are recommended in the reviews, including those done by CHOICE. And some of them are very expensive compared to the equivalent gas devices.

    CHOICE is expecting to do another report on BBQs in February – do you have any recommendation based on experience, or should I just be patient until this report is available?

    • Michael Paine says

      We have had a Sunbeam electric bbq for many years. Teflon hotplate is easy to clean but the plate doesn’t get as hot as a “real” bbq. Maybe that is not popular with reviewers. The lid turns it into an efficient oven.
      It seems that it is now marketed under the “Gasmate” brand (how ironic!)

      • Michael – I found this “gasmate” BBQ at Hardly Normal for about $750. It looked very good, and the idea of teflon coated grill and hot plate that could be cleaned in the dishwasher was very good. However I would prefer not to spend any of my money at Hardly Normal, and the distributor in Melbourne could not find another reseller in Sydney with any stock. AND CHOICE would not recommend it 🙁 So I guess I will have to wait…

    • Kim Wainwright says

      Hi Peter. I’m flattered that you’re asking me for cooking advice. My wife has been using her faithful George Foreman grill for over 20 years. In summer the 2 kilowatt “lean mean fat grilling machine” lives outside on our patio next the air fryer. It now plugs into the outdoor power point that she’d been hounding me to put in for almost as long as she’s owned the grill. Beats tripping over the extension cord. Short of reading the Choice report, that’s the best recommendation based on experience that I can give you. Though I try, I’ll never reach the dizzy heights of celebrity chef stardom as this guy… https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/solar-power-slow-cookers/

      • Thanks for the advice Kim – I wonder if George Forman 2400W grills are still available 20 years later. Will have a look around…

  2. Seems to me to be time we made an Induction BBQ (or Boree Log in Australian). The induction could efficiently heat a plate, then efficient cooking! (I am not talking about a steel plate on a glass top Induction, but rather a specially constructed steel top plate.)

    For those not in the know, a Boree log is a stump that is long burning, & was used for cooking. Much better than the imported term BBQ. Time for the US to leave Australia, at least in our language.

    Happy New Year to everyone, & may it be peaceful next year.

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