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Energy-Efficient Home for the Holidays

Energy-efficient holiday decorations

From planning the perfect dinner to preparing your home for guests, the holidays can be one of the most expensive times of year. Following these simple tips will help you save money, enjoy your resources, and feel good about the impact your holiday celebrations will make on the environment.

Decorate Smarter to Save Energy

LED Holiday Lights

Festive lights  have become one of the staples of the holiday season; however, the energy it takes to power these little lights can cause you to lose your holiday cheer when the electric bill arrives in January. To avoid holiday aftershock, consider some alternative ways to manage your decorating in a manner that is both festive and frugal:

  • Make the transition this year to light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights. These lights are 80% -90% more efficient than traditional lights. LEDs are shatterproof, shock resistant, and cool to the touch. Not only can they save you substantial cash, but these lights are safer for your family and can help prevent the risk of fire.
  • Avoid the hassle of turning your lights on and off manually by setting an automatic timer. You can customize the settings on your timer to shut off overnight and during the daytime so the lights are only on when you and your family are home to enjoy them.
  • Cut down on the number of strings of lights you use, both indoors and out. When it comes to holiday decorating, sometimes, less is more.
  • Save your use of lights for the days closest to Christmas or for special occasions, such as a holiday party.
  • Choose a new outdoor lighting set. Many new sets on the market come with a solar power source that can save you money in the long run.
  • Consider unplugging your Christmas lights or other electronic decorations during the daytime or when you aren't home. In the average home, 75% of the energy used to power electronics is consumed while they are turned off.

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Smart Cooking Tips for Energy Efficiency

Energy-Efficient Cooking

Another area of the home where energy use is frequently overlooked is in the kitchen. Especially during the holidays, families expect to spend time together around many large, extravagant meals.  Apply the following tips to your holiday cooking routine to save while you prepare your family's feast:

  • Avoid preheating the oven. Many holiday main courses slow cook for hours. Since turkeys and hams will be in the oven for a long time, there is no need to preheat.
  • Use the oven light to check on the progress of your creation instead of opening the oven door. Opening the oven door can lower the temperature by as much as 25°, which will extend your cooking time and waste energy.
  • Let your oven do double duty. Plan ahead when you cook so that you can bake multiple dishes at the same time. Save the energy you would have to use to preheat.
  • When you cook on your stove, make sure you match the size of your pan to the heating element you are using. A six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner can waste over 40% of the energy.
  • Use the smallest appliance for the job while you are doing your holiday cooking. Microwaves, for instance, use less than half the energy required by a conventional oven.
  • Run your dishwasher with a full load to optimize its efficiency. One dishwasher cycle uses 37% less water than hand-washing.
  • Store extra beverages outside or in the garage during the winter, and save on the energy required to power a second refrigerator.

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