‘Tis the season of gathering and giving! During the holidays Americans spend billions each year on gifts, decorations and entertaining. There’s something appealing about being “home for the holidays” and this often leads to higher home energy costs throughout the fall and winter. It all adds up to an expensive time of year! So, here are some tips to reduce energy use and limit the stress on you, your budget, and the environment.
Interior and Exterior Decorations
• Twinkling strings of lights are a standard go-to for festive holiday décor. Although transitioning your holiday lights to LEDs will cost you more up-front, the updated products reduce energy consumption and save you money in the long run. LED lights are 80-90% more energy efficient than traditional lights, and have the added benefits of being shatterproof, shock-resistant, cool to the touch, and longer lasting.
• If you are in the market for new exterior lights, try out one of the new sets that come with a solar power source.
• To avoid wasted energy and safety hazards from lights being left on too long, use a timer and set your lights to go on and off automatically at specific times of day.
• Look for decorative lights that are ENERGY STAR certified. This certification means the product meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US EPA and uses 75% less energy than conventional incandescent light strands.
• Plan ahead and see if you can put more than one dish in the oven at once. It takes a bit of coordination but can save time and energy.
• To check the progress of food in the oven, use the oven light and window instead of opening the door. Every time you open the door, you can lower the oven temperature by as much as 25 degrees, which will waste both cooking time and energy.
• When cooking on the stove, try to match the size of the pan to the size of the burner you are using. For instance, using a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner can result in a 40% energy loss. Keeping a lid on pots can also reduce cooking time and energy usage.
• To optimize the efficiency of your dishwasher, only run it with a full load.
• When entertaining, turn down the thermostat. The lower temperature will be offset by the stove and oven, the hot food, and guests giving off body heat.
• When the tree or other decorative lighting is on, limit secondary lighting. This will save electricity and give the room a warm glow to help set a festive mood.
• Add cozy throw blankets to sofas to combat the chill that might prompt you to crank up the thermostat as you settle in with a good book or a holiday movie.
• Properly maintain your fireplace to keep warm air in and cold air out. Remember to close the flue when the fireplace is not in use.
Do you have an energy saving tip to make the holidays “greener”? Share it below!