Five Energy-Saving Tips for the Holidays
The holidays can be an energy guzzler. Festive lights are hung and turned on 24/7. The oven is working overtime on gingerbread cookies, yams, turkey, etc. The whole family is home and turns on all of the lights…and the television…and the computer. On top of that, between driving to stores to buy gifts and attending holiday dinners and parties, the car gets double its normal use.
Not only is all of this excessive energy use tough on the planet, but it drains your wallet as well. However, there is no need to turn off the lights on holiday cheer. Here are five easy ways you can reduce your energy consumption.
Skip the decorative lights
Instead of using twinkling lights, why not use decorations that don’t need to be plugged in, like garlands and ornaments? If you just can’t live without them, consider purchasing LED lights, which use about 80-90% less energy than conventional ones.
Turn off your household lights
With people typically on vacation during the holidays and friends and family visiting, lights tend to get turned on more. You don’t need to eat in the dark to save energy. Just walk around periodically to make sure lights aren’t on in empty rooms. Also remember to unplug items that drain energy even when they’re off, like computers, televisions, and cell-phone chargers – when you’re not using them, of course!
Don’t drive more than you need to
Instead of visiting the mall multiple times, try to buy all of your gifts in one trip. Draining your gas tank while shopping can be avoided if you buy online, with free shipping. If you need to travel a long distance for a celebration, consider carpooling.
Turn down the thermostat
Heating is the highest energy expense in most homes, so not having the heater at full blast could save you hundreds of dollars. Certainly, you don’t want the house to feel like a freezer, but why not try lowering the temperature a few degrees and putting on a sweater? You may even have received an ever-so-stylish one in holidays past! When guests are over it’s a great time to turn the thermostat down since crowded rooms tend to be warmer than empty ones.
Avoid excessive appliance use when cooking and cleaning
You can use the oven more efficiently by cooking multiple dishes at the same time. Wait, but what if you have a pie that bakes at 400° and bread that bakes at 350°? You may be able to get away with baking them both at 375°. Or, if you only have a small amount to cook, use a more energy-efficient toaster oven or microwave instead. When washing dishes, consider doing it by hand, or, at the very least, only turn on the dishwasher when it’s full.
By being conscious of and reducing your energy consumption, you can enjoy the holidays without having to break out in a sweat when you open your January energy bill.