Tis the season to make merry, be social, have guests, drive all over town, indulge extravagantly and light up the night in all kinds of ways. During the holidays, energy consumption used to skyrocket, mainly because standard incandescent holiday lights are such energy hogs. But these days you can shine bright and responsibly. Here are four easy tips to cut down on your electricity usage.
Whether you are driving around town to buy presents or across the country to visit family, fuel costs can add up over the holidays. One simple way to minimize fuel consumption is to empty your car after all your driving trips (get your kids to help too). According to the US Department of Energy, an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could increase gas costs by up to $.08 a gallon.
Light up the night
If you haven’t already embraced the LED ethos, this holiday, crossover to the other side. In addition to being sturdier, LED holiday lights last longer and consume 70 percent less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. The stats are significant: The Dept. of Energy says it costs $0.27 to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs compared to $10 for incandescent lights.
Reduce what amounts to paper indulgence. Even though wrapping paper may look pretty, it’s a colossal waste. All year I save the Sunday comics to use as wrapping paper—and instead of being labeled cheap I feel like more and more people are impressed (dare I say inspired?). And while we are on the subject, just say no to the temptation of status shopping bags. Thousands of paper and plastic shopping bags end up in landfills every year. Tell store clerks you don’t need a bag for small or oversized purchases. If you forgot your reusable bag—it happens—combine all your purchases in just one big bag.
The heat is (not) on
Make use of those Christmas sweaters—the uglier, the better—and turn down the heat. And because you will probably have more people visit over the holidays, you might want to think about turning down your thermostat. The extra body heat can allow you to turn back the heat a few degrees and barely notice.