The holidays are a time of celebrating the old year and anticipating a brighter new year. But brighter can also equal earth friendly, if you make some effort. Whether you celebrate a religious Christmas, the candles of Hanukah, the joyous celebration of Kwanzaa, the giving tradition of Santa Claus or simply want to celebrate the coming year, you can do so in a way that is environmentally friendly. This time seems to bring particularly high energy bills for many people, so let’s look at four ways that your family can enjoy a bright holiday season on an energy budget.
1) Make the Switch to LED LED lights are the latest rage in holiday decorations. But they are not only trendy, they are also beautiful and cost effective. These lights give off a warm glow unlike traditional lights. They also require much less energy to run them, potentially saving you the cost of the strand over just two holiday seasons. Furthermore, they are long lasting and not nearly as quick to break as traditional lights. Finally, they run cool and thus pose much less fire hazard than traditional lights – a good thing to know at a time of year when house fires claim as many as 400 lives a year in the U.S. alone. Remember, even with cool burning LEDs, never leave your lights on unattended. Remember LEDs are not just for strand lighting, but also for flameless candles and other holiday decorations.
2) Set a light Timer There are few things more beautiful than a well designed, brightly lit holiday display. But these displays can be quite costly in terms of electricity use. Remember that while a tree falling in the woods does make noise even if no one is there to hear it, your lights are of little value when the entire neighborhood is sleeping. So, set a timer to have your lights go on at sunset, then turn themselves off just after your family goes to bed, or, around midnight when most people are home snug and sleepy. If you live in an area that is dark and cloudy much of the day, you may like to keep your lights on during the day so you can enjoy them. That’s fine, but still set a timer that turns them off from the time you go to bed until the time you wake up. This way you are not wasting power on something that almost nobody is awake to enjoy.
3) Use Solar Powered Lights Outside While LEDs are a great way to use less energy, what about using no power service supplied energy at all? Solar powered lights are becoming much more popular, and the technology has improved greatly in recent years. In southern states which get a lot of sun even in the winter, solar powered holiday lights can provide just as much light and color as traditional lights. In northern states winter cloud cover may render the lights less bright, but they can still be used for subtle, casual holiday decorating. With solar holiday lights you can go off the grid completely in your holiday decorating.
4) Install a Programmable Thermostat (or Use the One You Have) For most people in the United States this is a time of cool weather as well as celebration. Even those living in the southern states can look forward to some extremely chilly nights. No matter where you live you can expect cool temperatures to top out in the middle of the night, leaving your house extra cool in the morning. While most of us like to sleep a bit cool, we like to wake up to a toasty warm house. With a programmable thermostat you can set the temperature to help you cool down for bed (the human brain sleeps best with a lower body temperature) then warm up in the morning. Program your thermostat for the perfect temperature all day – letting it get a bit cool in the evening, then drop down lower when you are cozy under the covers. Then, bring it up again just in time to wake up. You’ll have comfort and energy savings at the same time. Remember if you are leaving the house for more than an hour or so to drop the temperature cooler and hit “hold” just before you leave. Then readjust it when you return.