Save energy and money this holiday season

  • Published
  • By Raquel Sanchez
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
The holiday season is here and with all the decorating, baking and cooler temperatures it's also a time for energy use.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the average family spends $1,400 a year on energy bills. Before you take your holiday decorations out, cook up those holiday treats or turn up your thermostat consider these tips to help save energy as well as money during the holidays:

Stir up less energy in the kitchen

  • Use your microwave or slow cooker for small cooking tasks. A typical microwave uses up to 75 percent less energy than a conventional oven.
  • Bake several dishes at the same time, it takes the same amount of energy to heat a full oven as it does a nearly-empty one.
  • Cook wiser, keep lids on pots and keep oven doors shut allowing food to cook faster while using less energy. Opening an oven door for even a few seconds could lower the temperature as much as 25 degrees.
Get the best value from your holiday lights

  • Use energy-efficient holiday lights like light emitting diode, fiber optic or rope lights. LED lights use 90 percent less electricity than regular lights and sell for as low as $10 a strand.
  • Limit the time your holiday lights are on, six hours or less is generally a good rule of thumb to use.
  • Turn off unnecessary room lighting when the tree is lit.
Stay warm without hurting your budget

  • Check the weather stripping around your doors and windows and close your blinds and curtains to help insulate your home.
  • Clean or change the air filter in the heating and cooling system regularly. A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and cause equipment failure.
  • Establish a comfortable thermostat setting usually between 66 to 68 degrees. Turn the thermostat down when you have guests, extra bodies can provide extra warmth. Turning the thermostat even one degree lower can reduce your energy use by one to three percent.
  • Reduce your hot water temperature to 122 degrees this could conserve up to three to five percent of your energy.
Be wary of hidden energy users

  • Unplug unused electronics. If you're planning to take a vacation, don't forget to give your electronics a rest too. Appliances, computers, televisions, gaming systems and many other electronics use energy even when turned off.
  • If you plan on gifting appliances or electronics this year, look for Energy Star certified products which are 40 percent more energy efficient than their counterparts.
Don't be a Scrooge by not conserving energy. There are several things Airmen can do to help reduce the amount of energy used this holiday season. Often it's the simplest things like checking your thermostat, turning off a light or closing a window that can save a tremendous amount of energy, said Christopher Hood, 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron, energy manager.

(Information in this article was obtained from multiple online resources provided by the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron energy manager.)