The Christmas season allows people to transform their homes into wonderlands of lights, garlands and poinsettias. Each family has its own Christmas traditions, and decorations are a part of many of those traditions.
Decorations might be awe-inspiring, but those that include lights often lead to substantially higher energy bills. Fortunately, there are ways for homeowners, whether they prefer subtle displays or more over-the-top arrangements, to save money and still celebrate the Christmas season in style.
In addition to lights, lit candles, animated dolls, wreaths, trees, and scores of imported ornaments contribute to the energy consumption per household. Even so, environmentally conscious individuals need not skip the holiday décor and entertaining. Fortunately, there are various ways to be energy efficient with holiday décor this season.
· Switch to more efficient lights. A great way to ensure Christmas displays consume less energy is to change the bulbs being strung. Incandescent lights can use 80 to 90 percent more energy than LED lights. Gradually replace older light strands with newer, energy-efficient LEDs. Not only do LEDs require less energy, but they also can last longer than incandescent bulbs, meaning you won’t have to replace them as frequently as more traditional bulbs. Furthermore, lower wattage usage means you can attach more strands of lights together safely. While a standard string of 50 lights consumes 300 watts, LED sets only consume four watts. This not only saves energy, but also considerable amounts of money over the course of the holiday season. LED lights last longer and often light up brighter too.
· Use fiber-optic decorations. Fiber optic items are lit by one light. The illumination carries through the fiber optic cables to the entire decoration.
· Use timers. Timers can be set to turn lights on and off at specific times, ensuring lights aren’t turning on during the daytime or being left on into the night by forgetful homeowners. Timers also are a good safety precaution. A dark house that is normally lit up can advertise to thieves that no one is home. When lights turn on with a timer, it will create the illusion that it is business as usual in your residence.
· Use homemade decorations. You also can save energy and money by recycling materials into Christmas décor. Trim branches from trees and use them in vases for an instant wintry look. Prune an evergreen on your property and make your own wreath with some wire and twine. Shop yard sales for gently used decorations that still have years of utility left. Sew ornaments from scraps of fabric or clothing that no longer fits. Each of these ideas reduces reliance on manufactured decorations that consume energy during production and fuel while being transported from factories to store shelves. Check out DIY Christmas Ornaments
· Rely on extension cords. You can extend the length of displays without using more lights by spacing out light strands with extension cords. Intersperse spotlights to add attention to key elements of your display as well.
· Turn off interior lights. If a Christmas tree is illuminating a front window, turn off the lights in your home, as the tree may provide enough light to make a living room or den extra cozy. Christmas tree lights or the lights framing a picture window should be sufficient to light up a room. Keep lamps and overhead lighting off while the tree is lit to save money and energy.
· Check light strands. Always inspect lights for frayed wires and any damage. Frayed lights are less efficient and pose a considerable safety risk.
· Enhance decorations. Use mirrors and reflective ornaments to give the appearance of more lights without actually adding more.
· Lower the thermostat. When entertaining, turn the thermostat down a few degrees. Having extra people in your home will raise the temperature. Similarly, heat generated by the oven and other cooking appliances can warm up a home. Don’t waste energy by keeping the heat turned on high.
· Invest in rechargeable batteries. According to Energy Quest, 40 percent of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season. To power those many gifts and devices, use rechargeable batteries which can be used again and again.
· Change your cooking practices. Smaller appliances use less energy. Put those toaster ovens, slow cookers and electric fryers to good use. Only use the oven if you are cooking a large meal.
· Wait until the dishwasher is full. Pack in the dishes from holiday meals, and only run the dishwasher when it is full.
· Reuse items whenever possible. Many items around the house can be put to good use as decorations, holiday servers or gifts. Take inventory of what you have before you go out and purchase new decorations.
Article compliments of Metro – HL15A564 & HL14C763