Have an Energy-Efficient Holiday Season

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This holiday season, discover new opportunities to save energy.  You can reduce your energy usage by implementing smart tips in the kitchen and putting up energy-efficient decor.

Save on the Season’s Eatings

Whether you’re an experienced cook or feeding a large party for the first time, preparing meals for your friends and family can be a major undertaking. All that home cooking can result in wasted energy and money if you’re not careful — but don’t worry! We have your backs, chefs.

Here are some ways to save energy as you prepare your holiday feast with your family and friends:

  • Use your slow cooker. You can cook virtually any dish in a slow cooker, even a Thanksgiving turkey! Slow cookers are not only easy to operate but also use one-tenth the energy of your oven.
  • No peeking with the oven door open. Patience is key in the kitchen, so remember to keep the oven door closed when cooking. Opening the oven door even slightly to check on your food can reduce the oven temperature by up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit and increase the cooking time.
  • Keep the lids on. When using the stove, keep the lids on your pots so your food cooks in less time, saving you energy.
  • Maintain your burners. Clean the burners on your stove after every use, as they’ll generate heat more efficiently and consume less energy.
  • Use glass or ceramic dishes.Glass and ceramic retain more heat, which means you can use a lower temperature when baking than you can with metal pans.
  • Match the pan to the burner. Heat each pan on a burner of similar size. Using a pan on a larger or smaller burner wastes energy.
  • Preheat thoughtfully.  If a dish requires several hours to cook, skip the preheating stage; start cooking the dish as soon as the oven is on. Also, plan to cook dishes back to back so that you’ll only have to preheat once.
  • Use microwaves or toaster ovens. Consider using your microwave or toaster oven for smaller dishes to save energy.
  • Multitask in the oven: Cooking multiple dishes in your oven, side by side or on different racks, may slightly increase their cooking time, but it still uses less energy than cooking them separately does. Be sure to leave enough space between dishes to let the air circulate so they cook evenly.
  • Run a full dishwasher. Waiting to run your dishwasher until it is full means fewer loads and a smaller energy bill.

For more energy saving tips, visit our page on saving energy at home.

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Deck the Halls With Energy-Efficient Decor

Although the beautiful lights illuminating the outside of your house are the envy of the neighborhood, they also can drive up your energy bill. Save money by using energy-efficient lights and decorative displays.

LED Lights

ENERGY STAR certified LED light strands use up to 90% less energy than incandescent lights. LEDs are brighter, more environmentally friendly, and easier to install. Depending on how many lights you need, you can string together up to 24 strings of LEDs without overloading a wall socket. You’ll also save money over time since LEDs are more durable, lasting up to 25 times as long as traditional bulbs.

Solar-Powered Lights

If you really want to save money, consider solar-powered decorative lights. With the sun as the lights’ source of energy, you’ll reduce your energy bill — and because these lights are cord free, you won’t have to worry about a tangled cleanup once the holidays have passed.

Other Tips for Energy-Saving Decoration

  • Put your decorative lights on a timer so they automatically turn on once it gets dark and then turn off in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep. This will avoid wasting energy when no one is awake to see your display.
  • Use reflective decorations such as ornaments to make your holiday displays brighter without adding additional lights, which use electricity.
  • When it’s time to replace your holiday decorations, hit up after-holiday clearance sales to take advantage of discounts on energy-efficient options.