As many (most) of you, my favorite time of the year is Christmas. A time where family and friends come together to share good food, conversation, sometimes gifts, and bragging rights about decorations exceeding expectations. Though this time is precious with loved ones that doesn’t mean we can’t be aware and minimize the costs of celebrating to the environment and our own pocket. Below are some very simple ways to reduce your energy use, bills and overall carbon footprint.
1. Use Fiber Optic Decorations
The best way to reduce your carbon footprint over the holiday season is to decorate with fiber optic lights, even more so than energy-efficient light bulbs. Fiber optics only require one light source that is illuminated down the cables, drastically reducing energy needed compared to multiple bulbs each requiring current.
2. Timing Christmas Lights
A simple notion – Only turn on the lights when needed. There is no point in turning on your Christmas lights during the day but so many people do this. Some out of sheer ignorance but most due to the fact that they just forgot to turn them off from the night before. Using an inexpensive timer will allow you to ensure the lights are off during the day when the bulbs will be using unnecessary energy competing with natural light and automatically turn on the lights only during the peak evening hours when needed.
3. Use LED Christmas Lights
Costing on average only $10 a strand and consuming 90% less electricity compared to regular Christmas lights and regular incandescent bulbs, LED Christmas lights are a no brainer for the holiday season.
4. Use Candles to Light the Room
In my opinion rustic candles are more beautiful than a strand of Christmas lights any day of the week. Candles are a great way to light up a room during the holiday season and have the added bonus of emitting heat to help keep the furnace use down. Negligible some might say, but I say every little bit helps and in my small 580 square foot loft it makes an undeniable difference in temperature. If you really want to push the envelope you can be sure to recycle the wax from the candles!
5. Turn the Tree On, Turn the Lights Off
If your beautifully decorated tree that spent that whole afternoon on is lit up is there really any need to have the lights on? No. Not only will you be saving the energy use from unnecessary lights on but you will be enhancing the Christmas atmosphere.
6. Turn Down the Thermostat
With all those candles burning you can surely turn down the thermostat, especially once all your family and friend arrive and share their natural body heat!
7. Eco-Friendly Energy-free Gifts
Did you know that 40% of all battery purchases are made during the holiday season? Take this into consideration when you are doing your Christmas shopping this year. Buy energy-free gifts that don’t require power or gifts that make use of renewable sources such as solar. At the very least, if you can’t avoid a gift that requires batteries be absolutely sure to include rechargeable batteries.