It is that time of the year for indulging in sweet treats and celebrating with family and friends. This is also a time when energy consumption increase which may have a big impact on your finances as well as the environment. Here are ways you can conserve energy while saving on your costs during this holiday season.
Give gifts of energy efficiency. Give gifts that are energy-efficient, recyclable or made of natural products. Buy gifts that use alternative energy like solar-powered flashlights, crank radios or a generator with a solar panel for times of emergencies and blackouts. Think of other gifts like smart technology and energy efficient appliances to help save you money in the long run. Energy efficient equipment includes smart thermostats, tankless water heaters, furnaces and more!
Opt in for other options. One of the easiest ways to save time, money, and energy is to shop online. Over the past few years, online shopping has been huge. More and more shoppers are staying at home and avoiding the hustle and bustle of the mall. If you do plan to venture out, try and plan a shopping event to avoid multiple trips. Invite neighbors and friends to knock out all their shopping needs with you.
Shop Local. Shop local at the farmers’ markets and stores in your neighborhood to help support local artists, producers, farmers, and other businesses. You will not only connect with your community and help support the local economy, but you also give local business owners a better return for their product and give them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.
Don’t shop at all. Spend the holidays in other ways with family and friends. Instead of gift giving, play boardgames and other games, cook or bake together or watch a movie at home. You can also take a trip out of town and spend time together and make new memories whether it's visiting another family member of yours, in the mountains or snow or having a staycation.
Avoid preheating when possible. While many recipes call for you to preheat your oven, it isn’t always necessary. Experts at Energy.gov point out that anything that needs to be baked or roasted longer than an hour doesn’t need to be put in a preheated oven. Most modern ovens get up to temperature very quickly — you don’t need to run them a dozen extra minutes.
Use a timer. Use a timer to prevent overcooking and use the oven light to check the progress of food in the oven. You can also cut energy use by turning the oven off 10 or 15 minutes before you expect the dish to be done. If you don’t open the oven door, your oven will continue to cook with the temperature; therefore, the rest of the cooking is accomplished without consuming any more energy.
Keep your lids on. Food will cook faster and require less energy when you keep the lids of your pots and the oven door closed while cooking. In addition, it takes the same amount of energy to heat a full oven as it does a nearly-empty one. Make the most of the energy used by cooking or baking several dishes at the same time when possible by planning to have dishes cook at the same temperature with the similar amount of time.
Use glass and ceramic pans. These pans will help retain heat than metal pans, cooking your food more efficiently in the oven as well as keeping your food warm out of the oven. You can also turn down the oven’s temperature by up to 25 degrees and still get the same results.
Use small kitchen appliances for quick tasks. Reserve the oven for large cooking tasks like roasting a turkey; and consider using the microwave or toaster oven for the smaller tasks, like melting chocolate for dipping and warming up leftovers. Using a microwave instead of an oven can reduce energy usage by 50 percent or more.
Don Your Winter Apparel. Use your favorite ugly sweater, onesie pajamas, sweaters and even scarves at home. You can also drink warm drinks like tea and hot chocolate to stay warm. By wearing these items around the house, you will keep warm and avoid turning up the heat of your thermostat.
Use less heat with guests over. When you have a crowd of people in a room, your house can heat up pretty fast. The combination of warm bodies and a hot stove should keep everyone cozy and comfortable. Lower your thermostat a degree or two at the beginning of the party. You can reduce your energy use by 3% for every degree you lower the thermostat.
Leave the oven door open. When you’ve finished cooking and baking, turn off the oven and leave the oven door open. This will help let the residual heat into your home to keep you, family and other guests warm throughout the night.
Light the fireplace. Not only does lighting your fireplace add ambiance to holiday festivities, but it can also add some warmth to the room. You can also conserve heat by closing the doors of your rooms as well as closing the vents in rooms that you don’t use often.
To see how you can save energy in other ways, you can get a free energy audit by making an appointment with us.