Have an Energy Efficient Holiday Season
Cue “Jingle Bells” and deck the halls, we’ve officially made it! Cooler weather is here, and holiday festivities are in full swing. Between shopping for the perfect gifts to planning a holiday feast, this time of year can take a toll. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most expensive.
The National Retail Federation predicts consumers will spend about $1,000 on average in 2022 for items like food, decorations and other holiday-related purchases. If your to-do list has you stressed, relax and continue reading to learn simple ways to save this year and beyond.
Give The Gift Of Energy Efficiency
If you plan on gifting (or receiving) home upgrade appliances or products such as an LED lamp or smart thermostat, consider items that are ENERGY STAR® certified. ENERGY STAR is a federally sponsored program that uses standardized methods to certify more than 75 different product types based on their energy consumption. When you see the ENERGY STAR label on an appliance, you can trust that the product has met a high standard for energy efficiency.
Depending on what you’re in the market for, your electric utility may offer a rebate for upgrading your home with an energy-efficient product. Most utilities require home upgrade products to be ENERGY STAR certified. If an Energy Star product isn’t on your shopping list, there are several energy-efficient gifts that are practical for every household.
Recycle Gift Wrapping
There’s no limit to the creativity you can bring to your gift wrapping this year. It takes a massive amount of energy every year to produce wrapping paper that eventually ends up in a landfill. A way to reduce that waste also happens to be a fun, holiday project. Save your newspapers, maps, old books, paper bags and fabric to repurpose when it’s time for gift wrapping.
Instead of decorative accents that can only be used once, opt for bows or twine that can be used year after year. Another option is to source decorative touches from outside like pinecones and tree trimmings. Using what you find and already have is an easy way to reduce waste and unnecessary spending.
Make The Switch to LED Bulbs
You’ve probably already noticed neighbors beginning to hang their lights. Combined, Americans purchase an estimated 150 million bulbs to light up their trees, roofs and everything in between. Without the help of LED and solar lights, the festive displays could be a huge energy drain.
LED bulbs appear to be the more expensive option on the shelf but because they consume 80% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lights, they will save you money in the long run.
Some LED lights are made without removable bulbs, so the circuit won’t fail if a single bulb breaks, saving you money by not having to replace an entire strand. They’re also the safer option as they burn at a lower temperature than incandescent bulbs.
Take your energy efficiency to the next level by plugging your LED lights into a timer that automatically turns on at sunset and off after a few hours. While lights are on inside, limit energy use by turning off lamps and other lights when possible. Use the warm glow from the holiday lights to illuminate the room and create ambiance.
For outdoor lights, it’s advisable to use string lights that are designed for ‘all-weather’ conditions.
Conserve Energy While You’re Not Home
If you’ve ever been to the airport around the holidays, you know it’s one of the busiest times of the year for travel. While you pack the car and prepare for time with family and friends, don’t forget to prepare your home for your absence. Simple steps like setting the thermostat to vacation mode and unplugging unnecessary appliances can save you money on your electric bill while you’re away.
Be An Energy Savvy Host
If you’re hosting the festivities at your house, you’ll likely be busy in the kitchen. Save yourself time and money by having dishes prepared to go in the oven at the same time or one after another. The oven uses the most energy while it’s warming up so it’s best to use it resourcefully while it’s hot.
While the oven is on and there are extra people in your home, bump the thermostat temperature down and take advantage of the existing oven heat.
Tri-State is a not-for-profit cooperative of 45 members, including 42 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states, that together deliver reliable, affordable and responsible power to more than a million electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West. For more information about Tri-State and our Responsible Energy Plan, visit www.tristate.coop.