VES-DecemberBlog2016 With the holidays right around the corner, most people are in search of the perfect gift, but they rarely consider how much energy is used by the gifts they have bought. Virginia Energy Sense is here to help you find the right gifts for your family and friends that will help them use less energy and likely shave off some of their energy costs in the process. Below is a list of twelve energy-saving gadgets that are sure to keep spirits – and your home – bright this holiday season.

For the chef in the family: the electric crock pot

Electric crock pots are not only a great solution for your busy life, but also great for your energy bill. They use half of the electricity of a conventional oven! Give the gift that keeps on giving by helping the recipients save money on their energy bill. (Avg. cost $30-$50)

For the smart home owner: smart home devices

There are a variety of smart home gadgets that allow you to control other devices like smart thermostats or LED fixtures. Pair this with your other smart devices and make reducing your energy use easier than before. (Avg. cost $40-$150)

For the handyman in your family: water tank jacket

Heating water requires a lot of energy, so any way you can save in this area is sure to lead to big savings. Wrap your water tank with a jacket to improve insulation by as much as 75 percent. You will likely save money by keeping the water hot. (Avg. cost $25-30)

For the person who has everything: smart LED bulbs

Smart LED bulbs can last up to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs and can be adjusted from your smartphone or manually to automate it to adapt to your routines.  (Avg. cost $8-10)

For the gadget-obsessed teen: device charging stations

These stations enable you to charge multiple devices simultaneously, reducing the amount of energy consumed per device. Better yet, these charging stations can reduce vampire power by automatically shutting off when devices are fully charged. (Avg. cost $40)

For that friend who’s always in a hurry: the motion sensor

Lighting can account for 12 percent of home energy costs, so give a motion sensor that will automatically switch lights on and off when someone enters and exits a room. This helpful detector can help reduce your energy use and costs, giving you peace of mind during the holidays. (Avg. cost $20-$30)

For the outdoor enthusiast: the portable solar charger

Spare your utility bill from vampire energy with a portable solar charger, perfect for small electronics like cameras, smartphones and tablets. The device is easy to use and powers up your devices when exposed to direct sunlight, making it an ideal gift for campers, travelers and all of your on-the-go energy needs. (Avg. cost $35)

For that digitally-savvy relative: wireless outlet controllers

Wireless outlet controllers allow you to remotely control any electronic device via your computer or with an app on your smartphone, making them perfect for anyone who tends to leave the lights on. Simply plug the controller tool into the wall, and then plug any appliance or device into the controller to instantly give you the power to save on-the-go. (Avg. cost $50-$60)

For that practical DIY relative: the door draft stopper

A draft stopper placed beneath a door is an easy fix to prevent air leaks and keep warm air contained in a room. For a fun winter activity, crafters and DIY-ers can even make these themselves with festive fabrics sewn around old socks or a pool noodle. (Avg. cost $10-$20)

For the fan of holiday displays: solar LED string lights

Stake the solar panel into the ground to add easy and beautiful lighting to your home. Once the sun goes down, the lights will illuminate and can run for 8-12 hours at a time. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about plugging them into an outlet or hooking up extension cords! (Avg. cost $5-$25)

For the tech-savvy homeowner: the programmable thermostat

For the true techie, spend a bit more on a Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostat. You can automatically adjust the temperature based on your preferences and habits, and remotely control the device with your smartphone, computer or tablet. Programmable thermostats can help you trim about $200 a year off your energy bill by automatically reducing your heat or AC when you need it least. (Avg. cost $175-$250)

For the relative who’s always hot: window A/C weatherseals

By weathersealing gaps, you’ll reduce the amount of air escaping outside and help keep your room cool while keeping your energy bill in check. (Avg. cost $2-$7)

Each of these gifts, available at your favorite local hardware stores, electronics store or online retailers, are sure to be a hit and will help those close to you reduce their energy consumption and shave costs on their energy bills. While you’re out shopping for someone else, be sure to pick up your favorite gadget for use in your own home! Visit our website for more energy-saving gift ideas.

Lesson Plans
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Get your students energized about responsible energy use! In partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, we’ve created fun, multi-day, Lesson plans to help you teach your students how to understand and conserve energy! They’re classroom-ready and free to use!