This year’s Super Bowl has come and gone, and armchair quarterbacks are busy dissecting the game, surely one of the most boring of all time. Football fans like statistics and numbers, and those don’t just apply to what happened on the gridiron. One example is energy use during the big game, and that doesn’t mean the energy expended by the players.
When it comes to electricity consumption, the real battle is in the kitchen during the lead-up to kick-off, not during the main event itself. While viewers consume massive amounts of things like chicken wings, dips, and beer while watching the action, electricity use during the game does not increase more than on a typical Sunday.
However, preparations for hosting—or bringing food to—the event do have an impact on home electricity usage, which starts at about 11 a.m. on game day. In the past four years, the increase has been (on average) about eight per cent, most of which can be attributed to pre-game food preparation. This additional energy consumption is equivalent to cooking 2.4 million frozen pizzas.
By kick-off time, the increased electricity load drops off to what BC Hydro would typically experience on a given Sunday. Despite an estimated 4.5 million people watching the Super Bowl every year in Canada, BC Hydro does not see an increase in energy consumption during the game.
This can partially be attributed to what’s called “collective watching”. During the event, many British Columbians gather together to attend parties hosted by friends or family, or head out to a restaurant or bar to watch the game. As a result, there are fewer screens on during the game than might be expected. Most people also forgo other energy-consuming activities—such as doing loads of laundry or washing dishes—during the game, which is another reason there is not a big increase in power consumption.
To improve energy efficiency stats before big events such as the Super Bowl, BC Hydro recommends:
· Forgo the preheat: Unless you’re baking a cake or pie, most dishes do not need a pre-heated oven. While it may take the chicken wings a little longer to cook, the oven will use less energy if you don’t pre-heat.
· Opt for smaller appliances: Where possible, use a smaller appliance such as a toaster oven, slow cooker, or Instant Pot. These can use up to 75 per cent less electricity than an electric oven.
· Skip the heat-dry function: A house full of guests can produce a lot of dirty dishes. Turning off the heat-dry feature on the dishwasher can cut its electricity use in half.
· Lower the thermostat: Cooking can increase a household’s temperature significantly, and so can a house full of guests watching the big game. Lower the thermostat to a recommended 18 degrees Celsius.
For more information on how to save energy and money, visit www.powersmart.ca.