The holiday season is generally a big time for energy use, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are 14 ways to save energy (and money) during the holidays:
- Switch to LED Christmas Lights: LED Christmas lights use 90% less electricity than regular Christmas lights, and can be purchased for around $10 a strand.
- Use Fiber Optic Decorations: Fiber optic trees and decorations are the ultimate in energy efficiency. In most cases, they use a single light bulb located in the base of the unit to light the entire decoration — now that’s energy smart, and budget smart!
- Limit the Time Lights Are On: Wait until dark to turn on your Christmas lights; then, turn them off before you go to bed. Six hours or less of daily use is a good goal to aim for. Do you have trouble remembering to turn your lights on and off? Set a timer!
- Turn Off Room Lights When the Tree is Lit: The lights on your Christmas tree should provide more than enough lighting to navigate around the room.
- Decorate with Candles: Christmas lights are nice, and so are candles. Set up luminaries along your walkway and lit candles throughout your home to achieve a beautiful holiday glow, without adding to the electric bill.
- Turn the Thermostat Down When You Have Guests: Extra bodies in the house means extra warmth at no cost to you.
- Buy Gifts that Don’t Use Electricity or Batteries: According to energyquest.ca.gov, 40% of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season. That’s a lot of money spent on batteries, and a lot of energy used! Make a pledge to buy energy-free gifts, and skip the expense entirely.
- 8. Invest in Rechargeable Batteries and a Charger: If you buy or receive gifts that require batteries, consider purchasing rechargeable batteries and a charger. Recent advancements have made rechargeable batteries better than ever.
- Buy Energy Star Electronics: Energy Star certified electronics — TVs, DVD players, VCRs and cordless phones — use up to 60% less electricity than their non-certified counterparts. Visit energystar.gov for a list of qualifying models, and shop smart.
- Take a Walk to See the Christmas Lights: Leave the car in the driveway this year when you go out to look at Christmas lights. A walking tour of your neighborhood will be just as fun, and won’t use any gas.
- Bake Several Dishes at a Time: The holiday season is a big time for baking. Make the most of your oven and the energy that goes into heating it, by cooking several dishes at once. Remember: it takes the same amount of energy to heat a full oven as it does a nearly-empty one.
- Use the Smallest Appliance to Get the Job Done: Use your microwave and toaster oven for small holiday cooking tasks, and save the oven for big cooking tasks.
- Keep Lids on Pots: Foods cook faster (meaning less energy use) when the lid is on.
- Unplug Phantom Energy Users Before Going On Vacation: TVs, DVD players, computers, printers, radios and many other electronics use energy even when they aren’t turned on. Unplug these items before you go on vacation, and enjoy the energy savings.
Written by Kim Kreber, SNAP’s Energy Conservation Education Specialist.