14 Ways to Save Energy During the Holidays
Whether you are traveling or hosting a dinner at home, the holidays are a time when energy use spikes and waste grows dramatically. Fortunately, there are lots of opportunities to save energy. Here are 14 simple ways to save energy during the holidays.
LED Christmas Lights
Lights are probably the most obvious source of energy consumption during the holiday season. If you haven't heard about LED lights, you've heard of them now. These lights only use around four watts per strand or .004 watts a bulb. (Assuming there are 100 bulbs on a strand.) A regular strand uses about 34 watts per strand. You could power 8 strands of LED lights for the price of one standard light. LEDs can last about 20 years or 100,000 hours, whatever comes first.
Limit Use of Christmas Lights
Keep your lights off during the day. Put the lights on a timer. Only have them illuminated from the dusk till about 10 pm. There's no point in leaving them on all night. There's just no audience at four in the morning. Make sure the lights are off when you are not home. This also reduces the risk of holiday fires.
The chimney is where your stockings hang with care. This is how Santa gets into your house. Cold air can sneak in here as well. The Alliance for Saving Energy has this to say about the fireplace. "While using a fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or opening the nearest window slightly (about an inch), closing the door to that room, and turning down the thermostat to 50 to 55 degrees. And don't forget to close the flue when you're done enjoying the fire."
Ditch the Caroling Cards Ever get one those cards that plays a little melody when you open it? They are kind of neat, but they are kind of battery-powered as well. Worse yet, musical greetings are energized by button-cell batteries that can contain mercury, lithium and cadmium. Many people like to save their cards for reminiscing purposes, but when these batteries get old, they can leak their chemicals in your home's environment. That's not the in the Christmas Spirit at all. To be safe and eco-friendly, you have to recycle them. Recycling batteries filled with heavy metals takes a lot of energy. Save energy by not buying these cards. A handmade greeting card and a song from your eco-friendly diaphragm is a better idea.
Join the Caroling People When carolers and other well-wishers come to your door, let them in the house or join them outside. Don't leave the door open while you watch them strut their musical stuff. You'll lose a lot of heat energy. Either invite them in to sing or join them outside. Make Serious Choices About Meat in Your Holiday Meals You may want to go all-out vegetarian this holiday season. Meat is more carbon-intensive than veg after all. You may have trouble convincing your family to eat a tofurkey. Your old coot of an uncle may say, "A pig would eat me it it got the chance. It's only fair that I get to eat it." And you may feel obliged to feed that uncle. So you'll want to make smart meat choices. Check the butcher shops in your area. Find one that gets its meats from local suppliers. Eat those animals that are native to the land you're in. Ever have sushi in Omaha, Nebraska? It's not worth it, but the steaks there are great. Eat cow in cow country. Eat seafood on the coast. This will reduce food miles and combustion energy. Minimize the Holiday Banquet Holiday meals are often the epitome of opulent dining. Food is cooked for days in all manner of dishes, crockery, pots and pans. Microwaves are employed. Stoves are preheated, post-heated and reheated. There is no need for all this cooking. It's bad for the health to overindulge. It's also bad on the energy bill. Reduce the amount of food you eat. Serve a simple but filling, well-balanced meal for all. Your energy bill will be smaller and so will your waistline.