5 Ways to Save Energy during the Holidays

The holiday season is a busy time—full of decorating, wrapping, baking, shopping, and visiting with friends and family. Come January, though, and you might find that holiday fun has sent your electricity bill through the roof. These tips will help you save electricity during the holidays and come out of the season with a few extra bucks.

1. Light up your tree with LED.
Whether you like to deck the halls or put up a simple tree, using LED holiday lights is the smartest choice for energy savings. LED Christmas lights use only 10% of the energy that regular bulbs use. They are also much safer than their incandescent or halogen counterparts because they generate only a fraction of the heat. With LEDs, there’s no need to panic if you accidentally leave the lights on overnight.

2. Keep it cozy without turning up the heat.
Having a home full of loved ones is often the best part of the holiday season. Turns out, it’s great for your electric bill, too! When you have guests over, you can actually turn down the thermostat a few degrees. Why? Because a room full of warm bodies will heat up on its own without running up your heating bill. The more guests, the merrier (and the cozier). Keep in mind that for every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save up to 3% on your electric bill.

3. Use your kitchen wisely.
Cooking for a crowd? When you’ve got a big holiday meal to make, you can save energy by baking several dishes at the same time. Your oven will use the same amount of electricity to heat up one dish as opposed to a full rack. There’s also no need to preheat the oven for dishes with a long baking time, such as your Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham. Just pop your dish in at the beginning and add a couple extra minutes to the timer. For more tips on how to save energy in the kitchen, check out our article here.

4. Beware of vacation vampires.
You might use the holidays as an opportunity to travel, visit family, or go on vacation. Keep in mind that when you leave your home for long periods of time, you might still be wasting electricity. Unplug your electronics before you leave to avoid using vampire energy (link to vampire article), which is when electricity slowly drains from plugged-in outlets. You should also make sure your large appliances and electronics are turned off completely. Computers and laptops use significant amounts of energy even while they’re in sleep mode.

5. Practice green gift giving.
If you’re buying electronics or appliances this holiday season, look for the Energy STAR label to ensure your device has the best energy-saving technology. Buying electronics also presents a good opportunity to use rechargeable batteries rather than disposable ones. While rechargeable batteries have a higher up-front cost than regular batteries, they end up saving you money in the long run since you won’t have to replace them when they die. They’re also better for the environment because they reduce the amount of toxic chemicals released into landfills.

Give yourself the gift of energy savings this holiday season. Not only will these tips help you save money, they’ll also help make the planet a healthier, safer place.

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