The holidays are a time of both massive consumption and massive spending. Traditions that are handed down year after year add meaning to the season and give your children memories that can last a lifetime, but how about starting some new traditions this year? The following traditions promote smart energy management, and as an added bonus, will also put a little of that much-needed green back in your wallet.
1. Switch to LED.
Trade in those scratched up C-9 Christmas lights for modern LED lights. LED lights use 90 percent less electricity than traditional lights. Strands start at around $10 and come in a variety of styles, shapes and colors. The money you save on the electric bill will have you dancing and twinkling all the way to the bank.
2. Limit the Light Time.
Everybody loves to sit around the tree watching the hundreds a festive lights dance in the darkness, but limiting the time the lights are on is a good energy management strategy. Wait until it is dark outside to turn the lights on, and be sure to turn them off before going to bed. You can also limit the time the lights are on each night to five hours. If you have trouble remembering to turn the lights on and off, set a timer or the alarm on your phone to remind you.
3. Bring on the Tinsel.
Instead of adding more lights to the tree, use tinsel and other reflective objects to make the most of the lights you already have.
4. Go Retro with Candles.
Nothing is more heartwarming than an old-fashioned Christmas. Before lights became mainstream in the 1920s, families decorated their homes with candles during the holidays. Light some candles throughout the house to add a warm glow to your holiday dinner or carol singing party.
5. Turn the Thermostat Down.
The holidays are filled with parties, which means more warm bodies in the home. In addition, people generally do more cooking during the holidays. Both of these activities add extra heat, which makes it possible to keep the thermostat at a lower temperature than normal.
6. Fill the Oven.
It takes as much energy to heat an oven that’s full as it does to heat one that’s nearly empty, so when you’re doing all that holiday cooking, try to bake several dishes at once. In addition to minimizing the use of electrical services, baking multiple items will ensure your house is always full of tasty holiday treats for family and friends who stop by.
7. Don’t Waste the Heat.
Once you’re done with all that holiday baking, leave the oven open to help heat the house. You’ll be surprised by how much heat a 350 degree oven can produce.
8. Use the Right Size.
When cooking during the holidays or any time, use the right size pan and the right size burner. Using a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner will waste 40 percent of the energy. In addition, if you put a lid on pans when cooking, you’ll use three times less energy. That’s a lot of savings on electrical services.
9. Walk, Don’t Drive.
Instead of firing up the family van for a tour of Christmas lights, why not bundle up and walk? Strolling through the neighborhood with mugs of hot chocolate to look at light displays may become a new favorite family tradition. In addition to saving energy and money, you’ll be creating new holiday memories for your children to pass down to the next generation.