The holidays often bring large crowds, more food, family, joys, and energy use. Here are some ways we have compiled to help lower holiday excess without losing any holiday cheer.
Most can be implemented right away or during your festivities. We’ve also saved a few to keep in mind for next year.
1. Insulate Windows and Doors
For doors and windows, there are two main problem areas that can allow the escape of heat or entrance of unwanted cold air. Leaks through the edges can be addressed using weatherstripping or stick-on foam. (Look for ones that stay on tight!) For older windows, try Shrink Film Window Insulation Kits for an added barrier to help keep your heat in.
2. Limit the Amount of Time Lights are On
With all of the festive decorations on full power, it can be easy to suck a good amount from the grid. By limiting the amount of time decorative lights stay on can have a significant impact on what you pay (especially when using standard C-7 bulbs!).
3. Get into the Holiday Spirit By Using Only String Lights
When the festivities are in full swing, try using only the decorative lights; turning off conventional lighting in rooms that have lit decorations. This is a great way to get into the holiday mood while lowering the impact of excess energy use – especially when using LED lights!
4. Decorate with Candles
Using candles as an integral part of your holiday decorations or party atmosphere is a great way to lower energy costs while setting the tone for the evening.
5. Use the Fireplace
Using conventional fireplaces can significantly reduce heating and light costs during the holiday season. This can even be true for energy-efficient or gas systems. With the correct use during cooler, darker hours you can see a significant reduction in heating and electric.
6. Turn the Thermostat Down When Guests Are Over
We’ve all been there – a party whose hospitality is a bit too warm… With guests radiating at an average 98.6º and ovens baking at 375º there can be a lot of heat to go around when guests are over. Trying planning a bit ahead and turn the thermostat down before they come over. It may be a bit cooler at first, but guests will thank you for the respite later.
7. Buy Gifts Without Electricity or Batteries
On average, 40% of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season. Try purchasing gifts that don’t use electricity or batteries.
8. Time to Get Rechargeable Batteries & Charger
Recent innovations in rechargable batteries make much more worthwhile to buy a rechargable pack. It will pay for itself in just a few cycles. Here are some.
9. Batch Baking
If the oven’s going, try baking multiple dishes at once – especially if they require the same range of temperature. Some recipes can use different temperatures than specified, but their overall cooking time will be affected.
10. Use the Smallest, Most Effective Appliance
For a greener kitchen, try using the smallest appliance needed for cooking. This efficiency will make for an easier clean-up and strain on the grid.
11. Keep Lids on Pots
Keeping the lid on pots while cooking helps preserve heat during the cooking process – allowing for a reduction in cooking times and less use of electric or gas (depending on your range). This will also increase the amount of moisture by not allowing it to evaporate out with heat, so keep an eye on recipes that will become soggy. Choose periodic times where you can release moisture by opening the lid and/or do a final reduction at the end when food is fully cooked.
12. Unplug Phantom Plugs (Reduce Phantom Loads)
Appliances and chargers still take power even when not turned on. This can cause a build-up of ‘Phantom Loads’ – an unecessary use of household energy. When going way this season unplug appliances and chargers to stop the impact.
13. Insulate Your Water Heater Tank
Insulating your water heater tank can reduce your annual bills by 7-16% and becomes extra handy during the winter months when temperatures outside the tank take the most heat. It will take about a 90 minutes and will be well worth the time. Here’s how to do it from the US Dept. of Energy.
14. Combine Errands to Reduce Trips
A good tip for those on gas or electric! Plus – you’ll save a ton of time (more time for egg nog).
FOR NEXT YEAR
We know it’s a bit later in the year, so we’ve saved our last picks for new season’s setup!
15. Energy Star Appliances
Investing in Energy Star confirmed appliances can save you for years on-end. Energy Star appliances use (on average) 20-30% less energy than that specified by federal regulations.
16. Use Fiber Optic Decorations
Fiber optic decorations often use only one bulb with fiber optic cords seemlessly extending the light from this single source. With advancements in technology and design there can be some really great options available.
17. LED Christmas Lights
One LED bulb can use 10 times less energy than conventional C-7 holiday bulbs. The savings can be huge with a projected cost of about $25 to $0.56 with a daily use of 12 hours for 40 days +.