4 Tips for Energy Efficient Holiday Decorating

The Choose Energy Team
By The Choose Energy Team December 10th, 2018

During the holiday season, household energy costs typically increase. Why? Because between vacation days and school breaks, you and your family are spending more time at home. As a result, you’re cranking up the heat for longer, leaving lights and TVs on longer and cooking more often.

And let’s not forget the holiday decorations. With outdoor lights, tree lights and perhaps even a few animated reindeer, your energy consumption increases even more.

Luckily, there are ways to decorate for the holidays while keeping efficiency in mind:

Efficient Lighting

Use LED lights and light strands to stay festive and save energy. “Most of the string lighting sold today is LED and this is a great improvement from an energy standpoint versus the older strings with incandescent lamps,” explains Solomon Rosenbaum, director of Green & Energy Projects at GRS Group. In fact, Rosenbaum believes it would be hard to even find retailers selling the older style of lights.

If you do still use incandescent holiday lights, swapping them out could result in huge savings. According to the Department of Energy, the ENERGY STAR qualified LED light strands use 70% less energy. If that’s not incentive enough to switch, the DOE also reports that the new lights are much brighter, are safer to use and are even easier to install since you can safely add almost 24 strings (connected end-to-end) without overloading a wall socket.

LED lights also last quite a long time (anywhere between five and ten years), which is good for the environment and your wallet. And there’s another bonus: LED lights are cool to the touch, which makes them less of a fire hazard and safer for small hands.

“If you have focus lighting or other lighting within a larger decoration, LED screw-in lamps or LED projection fixtures should be used,” Rosenbaum advises. “For example, a 30W LED flood fixture can have the same output as an older 100W metal halide fixture.”

Time Limits

It’s understandable that you want your decorations to be seen, but Rosenbaum recommends limiting the hours they’re lit to when people will actually see and enjoy them. “There is no need to keep lights on overnight while everyone is sleeping, or during the day while people are at work,” he explains. “Putting the lighting on a timer is often the best solution to reduce the human element of forgetting to turn them on or off.”

With the exception of light-up decorations, Rosenbaum says most holiday displays use very little energy. “The exceptions are items like train setups that have movable parts.” As with lighting, he recommends turning off energy-intensive setups when no one is around to enjoy them.

Alternative Decorating Options

There are plenty of ways to decorate for the holidays that don’t require electricity at all. For example, place Christmas ornaments in a glass bowl or a wire basket to create a festive look. Red, white, green and other holiday-colored candles also add a decorative touch – especially when grouped together. In addition, wreaths aren’t just for your exterior door; they can be hung on interior doors and walls as well.

Additional Holiday Energy Efficiency Tips

Baked turkey. Christmas dinner. The Christmas table is served with a turkey, decorated with bright tinsel and candles. Fried chicken, table. Family dinner. Top view

Besides holiday decorating advice, Rosenbaum offers two additional tips to help you save money during the holidays. “To increase efficiency during [meal] preparation, try to cook multiple dishes at the same time to reduce oven energy usage,” he says. “Also, when it it’s time to clean up, try to only run full loads in the dishwasher since the same amount of water and energy are used regardless of how full the dishwasher is loaded.”

RELATED: 10 Energy-Saving Tips to Survive the Winter

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