Renewable energy is good for our wallets and the environment. With the Christmas holidays here, our wallets may be stretched farther than we'd like. How can we get energy savings over the holidays and still enjoy our time with family and friends? There's no need for a dull, dark holiday. We've put together some smart energy savings tips for the holidays:
Tip #1: Use LED Christmas lights
According to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), light-emitting diode (LED) lights can use up to 85 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. They use 40 percent less energy than fluorescent lights. LEDs can last for up to five years of continuous use, so they also eliminate those pesky burned-out bulbs and darkened strings. According to CER, in New Brunswick, $10 could power 100 LED strings as compared to 11 incandescent strings.
Tip #2: Layer Your Clothes and Turn the Thermostat Down
You don't have to be freezing to save money and energy by turning your thermostat down during winter. If you set your thermostat down three degrees, you will save about 9 percent of your energy cost and use. Layer your clothing for coziness and comfort.
Tip #3: Bake More Than One Dish at a Time
You'll optimize your oven's heating ability and save energy by cooking as many dishes as you can fit at a time. Keep the oven door closed while you're cooking, too. It can lose as much as 25 degrees when you open the door, and it uses more energy while it's heating back up to temperature. Other energy-efficient cooking options include slow-cookers, which take about the same amount of energy as an incandescent light bulb. You can speed cooking time by cutting food into smaller pieces. Convection ovens and microwave ovens also use less energy than conventional ovens.
Tip #4: Carpool With Family and Friends to Holiday Events
First, this advice will help you not only to save energy and fuel costs, but it will also help spread the holiday spirit. According to the Canadian Automobile Association, it costs the average Canadian between $8,500 and $13,000 a year to own and operate a car. If you carpool with three other relatives to a holiday event that's 30 kilometres away, you will not only save the price of gasoline for the other three cars; you will also reduce the greenhouse gas emissions those cars would have created.
Tip #5: Open Curtains and Blinds:
For south and west-facing windows, open the blinds and curtains during the day. You'll receive free energy from the sun. When the sun goes down, close the blinds and curtains to help keep the solar heat inside as long as possible.
Tip #6: Switch to Energy-Free Decor
Consider static and natural holiday decor that doesn't need to be plugged in or powered with batteries. You have some new options for solar-powered decorations. You can also use garlands, ribbons, and other non-electrical holiday decorations that don't use powered technology to spread the holiday spirit.
Tip #7: Use Your Christmas Tree for Light
How lovely is it to turn off all the lights, enjoy a warm drink, and sit by the fire with your decorated tree? Try this more often. There's no need in the evening to keep every light in the house blazing when you can easily navigate by Christmas tree light.
Tip #8: Winterize and Seal Your Windows
Check all of your windows for an airtight seal. You've probably winterized your house already, but if you haven't, check your doors for a solid seal as well. Keep your windows securely closed and make sure your chimney flue is securely closed as well unless you have a fire -- or expecting Santa to arrive momentarily.
Tip #9: Unplug Appliances Not in Use
We're sure you've heard that appliances continue to draw power as long as they're plugged in. Researchers in the States found that the average North American home could have 40 or more appliances drawing power when they're not in use. Each device uses little power on its own, but all together, they can add up to 10 percent of the electricity used in your home. If you're planning a trip over the holidays, unplug as many devices as possible, include televisions and computers.
Tip #10: Double the Effect of Your Lighting
If you love your Christmas lights, you can do more with less by using mirrors and reflective materials. Mirror ornaments and mylar can also provide a similar doubling effect. Look for LED lights that combine with mirrored backing, as well. These are energy-efficient while offering an impressive and brilliant effect.
Tip #11: Use Properly-Sized Cooking Pots and Pans
Different pots are made to cook different foods efficiently as well as produce delicious results. Fitting all of your meals and recipes into the appropriate cooking vessels will help you to save energy. Foods also cook better in containers that are neither too large or too small. Nonstick cookware can also save time and energy when you're cleaning up. As we previously suggested, you may save more energy by adapting recipes to low-energy using slow cookers whenever possible.
Tip #12: Put Your Lights on a Timer
Lighting timers are inexpensive and easy to use. They'll easily save energy because few people are out at 2:00 a.m. to see your holiday light display. Use a timer to set your lights to display after dark to 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. each night to limit the use of electricity.
Christmas is a time for friends and family and spreading holiday cheer. You can save energy, improve the environment, and also save money for holiday gifts and charity by making a few smart energy-saving improvements over the holidays. We hope you've enjoyed these tips and find some you're glad to include in your holiday plans.