It’s a given that we consume more energy in preparation for the holidays and during the holiday season. Baking treats, cooking more meals than at other times of the year, and all those twinkly lights and decorations can quickly add up, impacting our energy bills in a big way. Here are some creative ways to use less energy during the holidays this year.
Replace Traditional Christmas Lights
If you’re still using traditional indoor bulbs for the tree and traditional outdoor Christmas bulbs, perhaps it’s time to switch to LED lights. LED bulbs use 80% to 90% less energy than standard incandescent lights. While LED Christmas lights are more energy efficient, they are also more cost-effective, safer to use, and better for the environment.
Less Just Might be More
You might want to be the best lit-up house on the block, but this year consider reducing the size of your outdoor lighting display. Reducing the number of lights and singing/flashing/blinking inflatables is one of the ways to have an eco-friendly holiday season.
Wait until Dark
Don’t turn your outdoor lights on until it’s dark. Turn them off before going to bed. Limit the time your home exterior is lit up to no more than six hours. If you’re good at remembering to turn the lights off inside the house but keep forgetting about outdoor Christmas lights, put them on a timer.
Invest in a Fiber Optic Tree
While there’s nothing like the smell and look of a real Christmas tree, they aren’t particularly environmentally friendly. Invest in a fiber optic tree – a type of artificial tree that is pre-lit and can be used year after year. Fiber optic trees typically use one source to light multiple light points, using energy more efficiently.
Better Cooking Habits
Resist peeking into the oven to check on what’s inside. You lose up to 30% heat every time you open the oven door. Turn the oven light on instead.
Cook with lids on. You’ll use less energy than when cooking food with no saucepan lid.
Put a small pan on a small burner. When using the stove top, matching pans to their corresponding burner size is a more efficient use of energy.
Use the oven for cooking; not for reheating. For example, heat yesterday’s casserole or pizza in the toaster oven or microwave – these appliances are smaller and don’t use as much power as the oven.
Cook more than one item at a time. Bake or cook dishes that require the same temperature together. This will reduce the amount of energy you need to heat the oven and will use for cooking the food.
Load up the Dishwasher
A dishwasher generally uses less water than washing dishes by hand. The trick is to not run the dishwasher until there’s a full load. When rinsing dishes before putting them into the dishwasher, use cold water instead – it doesn’t use as much energy as hot water.
Lower the Thermostat
When guests are over, there are more people in the house. Take advantage of the additional body heat and lower the thermostat. Especially if you have a fireplace, the oven on in the kitchen, and candles burning throughout the house, lowering the thermostat will keep your guests more comfortable.