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Holiday Efficiency Savings

The cost of decking the halls, devouring delectable holiday treats, imbibing fine spirits and celebrating with family and friends over the holidays can really add up. Here are a few efficiency ideas to lighten their impact on your finances, schedules and the environment.

Decorating

If you haven’t already, switch to LED Christmas lights. LED Christmas lights last longer and only use about 10% of the electricity when compared to traditional, incandescent bulbs that produce the same amount of light. Pre-lit, fiber optic trees and decorations also use LEDs with the added benefit of being shatterproof, shock-resistant, and cool to the touch.

Use a timer for all holiday lights. Set it to automatically turn your holiday lights on and off at the appropriate times – typically on at dusk and off at bedtime. To safely control exterior lights around your home, use a weatherproof outdoor timer.

Consider decorations with few or no lights. Reflective ornaments, candles, ribbons and garland make the most of low-lighting conditions. They can be used throughout the house to decorate staircases, entryways, mantels or wherever else you want to add some holiday cheer.

When operating holiday lights, turn off room lights. This enhances the holiday mood while providing sufficient lighting for most activities. Note that fireplaces also provide warm, ambient light. Just remember to close the flue when the fireplace is cold and not in use to ensure heat isn’t escaping up the chimney.

Heating

When you have guests, turn down the thermostat and take advantage of the body heat they generate. Waiting until guests are too warm and then opening a window to cool down is very inefficient, especially if you forget to close the window afterward. If you are baking, turn the oven off when finished and leave the door open to circulate extra heat into the room.

For those who may feel a little chilled, add another layer of clothing or grab a blanket rather than turning the thermostat up. Considering this is the only time of the year you can get away with wearing your favorite ugly Christmas sweater or Santa hat, why not take advantage of the opportunity?

Cooking

While creating your culinary delights, keep the lid on pots and pans and the oven door closed. Food will cook faster and require less energy while cooking.  Use a timer to prevent overcooking and the oven light to check on your food’s progress.  Remember, it takes about the same amount of energy to heat an oven full of food as it does a nearly empty one. When possible, bake several dishes at the same time.

For smaller cooking tasks, use kitchen appliances like the microwave or toaster oven. Save the oven for larger and longer cooking projects like roasting a turkey or ham. Rather than grabbing a pot for tasks like melting chocolate, making cocoa or warming up leftovers, use the microwave to reduce energy usage by 50% or more.

Shopping

Give the gift of energy efficiency.  When considering household appliances and electronics, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR-certified products use up to 60% less electricity than non-certified products. Visit www.energystar.gov for a list of qualified ideas to ensure your gift will save energy for years to come.

Shop locally. Not only will it save time and energy by not making an extended shopping trip, but it also helps support small businesses in your area. Are you more of an online shopper? Check out https://buynebraska.comhttps://grownebraska.org and https://fromne.com for a huge selection of great gifts from retailers right here in Nebraska.

Your local electric utility wants to help you make the most of this holiday season! For additional ways you can become more EnergyWiseSM, visit with your local public power utility.

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