Be Sustainable through the Holiday Season

The holidays bring a sense of cheer and time for sharing gifts and making memories. Spread that cheer by hosting a more sustainable home throughout the holidays. Being mindful of energy use, lighting options, and usage tactics will help ensure a happy and eco-friendly holiday.

Be prepared.
Getting your house ready for the holidays doesn’t just mean preparing for the hoards of extended family visiting to celebrate. Energy consumption gets quite high during the holidays and the first step to a sustainable holiday involves offsetting that usage by keeping rest of house energy efficient and running smoothly.

Simple repair and maintenance, particularly in the kitchen, will help keep your home running smoothly. Kitchens often turn into small bakery factories during the holidays which pump out delicious cookies, pies and other Christmas treats. Cooking holiday meals and will require less energy with equipment kept in prime condition. Ensure the vents on appliances big and small are clean of dirt or dust. Replace any necessary arms or attachments on KitchenAid parts and other counter-top equipment or burnt out coils on larger items like stoves or refrigerators.

Although lowered energy consumption is a key component of sustainability, water consumption should also be considered. As this TinyGreenMom.com post notes “replace your sink faucet and with a low flow faucet” for lowering water use as these faucets can have “water saving features that use 30% less water.”

Outside of the kitchen, control energy-use through operating power strips which make it much easier to turn lights and other electronics on and off at once. Unplug unnecessary auxiliary electronics as DVD players, stereos, and chargers often use energy even when not being used.

Be equipped.

Holiday lighting schemes light up neighborhoods and towns with ornamental cheer. Be equipped with Energy Star qualified LED lights which lights burn brighter and longer while using a lot less power and wattage. A single 7-watt bulb found on traditional light strings uses the same amount of power as a 24-foot long string of LED lights.

No longer limited to mere strings, energy efficient LED options are available for dangling icicle lights, tree wraps, statues, nets, balls, and many more options for illuminated holiday decor. In addition to their increased efficiency, Energy Star lights maintain significantly longer lifespans and are cover by a three-year warranty, burn at a cooler temperature, and can safely host several lengths of strands connected end-to-end without overloading the power source.

Be Vigilant.

Vigilance is key for several things in life, and a sustainable holiday season is no different. Setting timers for lights and hunting down rebate and recycling programs for older lighting options will lessen the cost of decorating and lower the amount of energy consumption without adding extra work.

Incorporating timers into holiday displays will ensure the lights don’t burn during the hours when no one is really watching. Timers help absent minded folks who forget to shut lights off before bedtime and allows display shine beginning at dusk for those who arrive home from work after dark. Different timers can be used to achieve maximum efficiency from larger displays by staggering the lighting display to coordinate with neighborhood traffic and lifestyle. Staggered displays shine in their entirety during the “high traffic” hours and then can be reduced to smaller illuminated displays later in the night before shutting off entirely.

Recycling centers often offer programs for recycling old lights. These centers often partner with stores and manufacturers to offer rebates and coupons in exchange for recycling traditional incandescent light strands. These rebates typically range from $2 or $3 dollars per strand or up to 25% off purchases of energy-efficient LED lighting options.

About the Author

Katei Cranford is a freelance writer who loves keeping her energy consumption low while lighting up her neighborhood with holiday displays!

*LED Christmas Light by Flickr Creative Commons user: Tiger Baby*