Eco-friendly holiday tips

string of holiday lights on a red background

Lights, heat, cooking and wrapping gifts are just some of the ways energy use gets amped up at the holidays. Review our list of tactics below to make your holiday greener.

Choose LED lights.
LED lights can use up to 90 percent less energy than standard lights. This translates into energy savings, cost savings and a reduced risk of fire.  

Limit the time your lights are on.
Try to limit the amount of time you have your lights on to 6 hours or less. To help, use a timer. If you don’t have a timer, simply turn your lights on after the sun goes down and turn them off before you go to bed. 

Put lights on energy strips.
Did you know that some lights (and appliances) can continue to draw power even when they are turned off? To prevent this, plug your lights and other devices into a power strip, and then turn them off when not in use. 

Turn your oven down or off.
Experts say that if you’re making a dish that will be in the oven for more than an hour, pre-heating is not necessary. Also, you can turn off your oven 5 to 10 minutes before the prescribed cooking time and it will continue to cook, as long as you don’t open the door. If you use glass or ceramic dishes, you can de-crease your oven temperature by 25 degrees for further energy savings.

Downsize appliances when possible.
Smaller appliances use less energy than your full stove. Using a microwave, toaster oven, crockpot or warming plate instead of the oven or stovetop will save energy and often reduce your cooking time as well. 

Multi-task your baking.
Try to group your holiday baking by the temperature each dish takes to cook. Many recipes require the same temperature to cook, so whenever possible, bake them together in the oven.

Don’t peek under the tree—or in the oven! 
Are you a peeker? If you like to keep opening the oven door to check your dish, know that every time you do the temperature can drop by as much as 25 degrees. Take advantage of the oven window and light instead. 

Skip the battery-powered gifts.
A smart way to conserve energy is not to buy gifts that require electricity. Battery-powered gifts contribute to waste, as well. Amazingly, 40 percent of all batteries are purchased during the holidays, and then live in perpetuity in landfills.

Use rechargeable batteries.
Do you have to buy a battery-powered gift? If so, purchase rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. You may not reduce electricity usage, but at least you will reduce waste.

The holiday season doesn’t mean that you can’t continue (or start) living an eco-friendly lifestyle. It also doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the special things you love at this time of year. Using these tips can help you make your holidays energy efficient and give the gift of a cleaner Earth to all.  

Back to issue