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Tips for a Meaningful Holiday Season: Saving Energy Around the House

Looking for ways to cut back this year, or simply interested in learning how you can make your holiday season more special for you or your family? Pottawattamie Conservation has your back.

The holidays are meant to be a joyous time of celebration and reflection. However, many of us have found ourselves overwhelmed or stressed in the aftermath of attending (or hosting) one party after another, overextending our budget on gifts or food, or being in close quarters with family or other individuals we’d, well, maybe rather not be in close quarters with.

To help you enjoy this holiday season as much as possible, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you focus on the things that really matter: our relationships with ourselves, others, and the world around us.

Before we get into it, here are some ideas for anyone who is spending the holiday season alone including creative ways to celebrate solo. Even if you aren’t in a celebratory mood, there are still so many ways to make the most of your time and possibly even enjoy yourself, too!

Part 2: Tips for Saving Energy Around the House

First off, let’s start with an important question: 

Why should you care about saving energy, and what does “saving energy” really mean? 

Ultimately, saving energy is less about preserving energy for later or for something else, and more about only using what you need and using energy efficiently to decrease the number of pollutants your usage creates. Plus, cutting back will usually save you a few bucks, too!

The reality is that every time you turn on the light, take a shower, or keep something plugged in and running you are releasing toxic chemicals into our atmosphere (unless your home is 100% green—if so, go you!). This is because most electricity is produced from coal, natural gas, and petroleum, all of which release chemicals that can be harmful to plants, animals, and humans (especially children and the elderly) and are known to cause lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory diseases, and more. 

The production of energy also releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat within our atmosphere. We need CO2 in order to live on earth (otherwise the average temperature would be 0 degrees Fahrenheit!), but too much will eventually heat the earth to life-killing temperatures.

Below are some tips from Black Hills Energy for ways you can lower your energy usage without even noticing:

  • Plan to do any holiday baking in one day and get the most out of your energy usage. It might be a lot in one go, but at least you’ll be all done by the end of it! 
    • Also: Try to keep your oven door closed unless you absolutely need to check. Every time you open that door you lose as much as 25 degrees and your oven has to use more power to maintain temperature.
  • Microwaves use far less energy than a gas stove, so consider microwaving something instead if it works for your recipe.
  • Be mindful of how often you’re opening your refrigerator and for how long. An open fridge door means using more power to maintain a cool temperature. 
  • Put lids on your pots and pans to speed heating and increase efficiency, and make sure the pot fits your burner. A 6-inch pot on an 8-inch burner wastes 40% of heat.
  • Stock up on LED bulbs and replace your old bulbs when they go out. They use less wattage, last longer, and save you money.
  • If you have south-facing windows in your home, open those shades during the day and let the sun do its job heating up your home. At night, close the blinds to trap in the warmth.
  • Connect your festive lights to a timer and schedule them to only turn on for certain periods of the day (6 hours is a good maximum amount of time to shoot for).
  • Look for alternative lighting options that don’t use energy or use less energy. An easy-to-install option is laser light displays which only use 0.005 watts of electricity per hour.

 

Catch "Part 1: Tips for Gift-Giving" here.

 

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