Category Archives: Save Energy During the Holidays

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

Last Minute Holiday Gifts: Energy-Efficient Edition

 

‘Tis the season for friends, family, and giving. If you still need last minute gift ideas, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular energy-efficient products. Watch out – you may even find yourself adding them to your own holiday wish list.

Instant Pot

$100

These pots – great for preparing any number of sides and entrees – use up to 70% less energy than conventional cooking methods. With pressure cooking, heat is very evenly and quickly distributed, so dinner is ready in a fraction of the time it takes other cooking methods (i.e., boiling, steaming, baking, and slow cooking). This makes cooking convenient.

Smart Speakers

Price Varies

There are a lot of options for smart speakers out there, but two devices reign supreme: Google Home and Amazon’s Echo. They both let users control their music, podcasts, and a wide assortment of smart home products. They are also both available in full and mini sizes. Which one is best? Ultimately, it’s a matter of preference.

Indoor Air Quality Monitors

$150

Know someone with allergies? Give them the gift of an air quality monitor, which allows them to accurately measure up to six main air quality indicators, including TVOC, CO2, PM2.5, PM10, temperature, and humidity. Users can visualize their indoor air quality with a compatible app. Smart home integration means that it works with select smart speakers. Its portable design allows users to set it anywhere they’d like.

Smart Thermostats

$250

Heating and cooling accounts for half the energy bill in most homes – more than appliances or electronics. Smart thermostats, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, work with smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon’s Echo to provide demonstrated energy savings and environmental benefits. Nest learns your schedule and preferred temperatures, programming itself for automatic comfort in about a week.

LED Smart Bulbs

Price Varies

With smart light bulbs, you no longer need to remember to turn off the lights or come home to a dark house. Smart light bulbs are available in different shades of white, from warm to cool white, and color changing LEDs. Most are compatible with select smart speakers to allow you to control your lights with your voice. Pair with other smart devices for total home automation and energy efficiency.

Winter Energy-Saving Tips

Winter Energy-Saving Tips

Find easy, cost-effective ways to use less energy without sacrificing comfort with the following six winter energy-saving tips.

Change Your Filter Regularly

Now is the perfect time to change the filter in your HVAC unit. This easy, affordable home maintenance task allows your heating system to operate more efficiently, ensuring better distribution of heat. You should check and change your filter once a month; HEPA filters every few months.

Reverse Those Ceiling Fans

During winter, switch the direction that your ceiling fan blades turn, so that cooler air is drawn upwards and warmer air pushed down. This allows you to turn the temperature down and still stay warm. There is usually a small switch on the fan that allows you to reverse the blade’s direction. Remember, clockwise in winter, and counterclockwise in summer.

Turn Down the Thermostat

When you’re home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable, dressing for warmth. When you’re asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day, and save up-to 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs. Smart or programmable thermostats can adjust the temperature for you.

Insulate Your Attic

To maintain comfort, heat loss must be minimized in the winter by ensuring an effective resistance to the flow of heat, which is something insulating materials do quite well. Plug your zip code into the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Saver tool to find insulation recommendations tailored to your Washington State home.

Replace Worn Weatherstripping

Worn weatherstripping around doors and windows creates drafts, letting cold air in, and heated air out. Caulking and weatherstripping – found at most local home improvement stores – are two cost-effective ways to cut heating and cooling costs and increase occupant comfort. Before air sealing, you should schedule a professional energy audit.

Schedule a Home Energy Audit

An energy audit can help you determine where your house is losing energy and money.  An energy auditor will check for leaks, examine insulation, inspect your heating system, and perform a blower door test using an infrared camera. The auditor will then recommend low-cost improvements that you can make to save energy.

Use LED Holiday Lights

Incandescent holiday lights are terribly inefficient, and despite careful storage, often emerge damaged. LEDs are a much better option. They use up to 75% less energy and last 25 times longer. Because they also produce very little heat, they are much safer to use for indoor and outdoor holiday lighting displays, as well.

How to Save Energy During the Holidays

save energy during the holidays

What you don’t want to do if looking to save money on high energy bills.

It is the most beautiful time of year once again!

With twinkling lights indoors and out, on virtually every corner, it’s true that Christmas is nearly here! That said, however, those twinkling lights and other important rituals of Christmas can get quite pricy which is why we want to help you save energy during the holidays with this month’s post.

6 Tips to Save Energy During the Holidays

#1: Unplug Holidays Lights During the Day

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you’ll save more money on electricity if you limit the time your holiday lights are on to less than six hours per day, and ensure you turn them off when you’re away. It’ll also save you the expense of locating a tiny bulb in your tree and replacing it when it burns out.

#2: Set Holiday Lights on a Timer

Setting your holidays lights on timers provides benefits that are two fold – it allows you to turn them off or on while you’re away, thus giving the illusion that you’re still home, and it allows you to save money knowing that the lights will automatically turn off at a specified time should you forget.

#3: Switch to LED Christmas Lights

It’s a fact! LED Christmas lights use 90% less electricity than regular Christmas lights. Plus they’re much safer; especially for those of you setting up a real tree this year.  You can typically find these at your local retailer for under $10.00 depending on how many lights per strand you desire.

#4: Reduce the Number of Outdoor Displays

Arguably, the holiday season is the one time of year that the phrase “go big or go home” holds true for many, but unless you want to see your December electricity skyrocket you may want to consider cutting back on the outdoor displays; even if it means not outdoing the neighbor next door.

#5: Say NO to Gifts that Require Batteries

Forty percent of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season, which accounts for big dollars spent, according to energyquest.ca.gov. This holiday just say NO to gifts that require batteries! If you have no choice in the matter, then you may want to consider rechargeable batteries.

#6: Buy Energy Star Rated Electronics

Energy Star rated electronics – big screen television sets, Blu-ray players, video game systems and more – use up to 60 percent less electricity than traditional non-energy star rated electronics. Be sure and visit energystar.gov for a complete list of qualifying models so that you can shop smart this holiday.

Happy Holidays!

~ From your friends at Carrig & Dancer Insulation