Courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Commerce offers 10 tips to save energy and money during the holidays
The Minnesota Department of Commerce recommends several simple ways to conserve energy and save money this holiday season:
- Ask for and give energy-efficient gifts, such as ENERGY STAR® home entertainment equipment, appliances, and computers that are efficient and environmentally friendly. Check out the ENERGY STAR Holiday Gift Guide.
- Replace incandescent decorative lights with high-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs for your indoor and outdoor holiday lights. LEDs use up to 90% less energy. Learn more about the energy savings from LEDs at the U.S. Department of Energy. And recycle your old lights—visit the Clean Energy Resource Teams website for LED information, including recycling locations and utility rebates.
- Use timer controls when decking your house in holiday lights. Timer controls allow you to automatically turn lights on and off at specific times.
- Plug your lights and electronics into a power strip and turn it off when electronics and lights are not in use. Even when not in use, plugged-in devices draw small amounts of energy.
- Turn down your thermostat if you’re going to be away from home for the holidays. Install a programmable thermostat to control the heating and cooling of your home year-round.
Entertain efficiently. When guests arrive, turn down your thermostat a few degrees, because the combination of the oven and stove, hot food, and warm bodies will help keep your home comfortable.
- Save energy in the kitchen. Simple actions in the kitchen, such as using the right-sized pots on stove burners and using the oven light to check on a dish’s progress to prevent heat loss instead of opening the oven door, can save energy.
- Maintain your home heating system. You can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining your heating system—have your system inspected annually, clean or replace furnace filters once a month or as recommended, eliminate trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season, and more.
- Cover leaky windows. Install clear plastic film (“shrink wrap”) to the inside of your window frames to reduce drafts.
- Maintain your fireplace. Close your fireplace damper when a fire is not in use and install airtight doors to prevent warm air from escaping up the chimney.
For more energy-saving suggestions, read the DOE’s “12 Days of Energy Savings” and Commerce’s Home Energy Guide.