Blog Post Tuesday 20 December 2016
Christmas is almost here, and no doubt you’ve already begun decorating your home in preparation for guests over the holidays. But before you go wild and adorn everything in sight with twinkling lights, or embark on that mammoth cooking task to feed the hungry hoards, take a few moments to think about how you can save a little money on your energy bills and have a positive impact on the environment over the holiday period.
Here are our top ways to be energy conscious this Christmas (without spoiling the fun).
If you’re still dragging out the same old set of lights that you’ve used for years, it’s time to trade them in for a new set of energy efficient LED lights. The old style of Christmas lighting is very inefficient, and we’re willing to bet that some of you are still hanging on to a set that only half light up. The new style of LED lights not only use 70% less energy than traditional bulbs, but they’re brighter, safer, are more eco-friendly and don’t get as hot as traditional lights. What’s more, they’re much easier to put up, and don’t have the potential of overloading your sockets. And, as they don’t have any filaments or glass, they’ll last up to ten times longer too. Just one tip: if you prefer the soft glow you used to get from incandescent lighting, choose the ‘warm white’ version.
While we all love the look of our house when it’s lit up with sparkling fairy lights, there’s no need to leave them on while you’re in bed. Choose lights with an automatic timer, or buy one separately so they’ll switch off after a set number of hours. If you’re still using traditional incandescent lights, using a timer will help ensure that you don’t run up hefty energy bills.
Battery operated lights are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are ideal for those places where you don’t have access to a socket. They’re available in the same combinations as those that require a power source and come complete with timers too.
Do you love lights but want to cut down on the amount you use? Try strategical placement of mirrors to reflect the lights and seemingly double the amount you have on display.
There’s so much food to prepare at Christmas, it’s smart to have a few strategies up your sleeve to use less energy. Start by ensuring that you use the right sized pan for the job, and put them on the appropriately sized ring, plus reduce heat loss by keeping the lids on the pans whenever possible.
We know it’s tempting to keep having a peek at your Christmas cake or turkey, but keep the oven door shut as much as you can. It’s also a good idea to make large batches of food in advance. Don’t put the oven on just to make a few mince pies - stick something else in there with them too.
What would Christmas be without a barbie? Plan to cook and eat outdoors as much as possible during the holiday period. It’ll help reduce energy costs and provide a great festive atmosphere.
Defrost food naturally overnight rather than relying on the microwave to do the job and allow warm foods to cool down before sticking them in the fridge and the freezer. These are just two simple ways to reduce the amount of energy used by kitchen appliances.
We’re right in the middle of the hot summer weather and our Christmas plans certainly won’t include snuggling around a log fire sipping hot chocolate, but we also want to avoid sitting in air conditioned rooms as much as possible. Get outdoors whenever practical to reduce the amount of energy consumed keeping your rooms cool. When you’re indoors try to keep the temperature somewhere close to 25 degrees, as each degree of cooling can add up to 10% to your running costs. You may also want to consider using a fan instead of air conditioning whenever possible.
Don’t forget to switch off appliances when you’re not using them. Don’t leave the air conditioning on in rooms that aren’t being used, or at least adjust the thermostat. Don’t forget to switch Christmas lights off if you’re not using a timer. Take appliances off standby and turn lights off when you leave a room.
While it’s sensible to find ways to reduce your energy costs over the holiday period, you shouldn’t forget that it’s also the time of the year to have fun. By putting some of our suggestions into action, you’ll be able to enjoy the festivities without worrying about running up an enormous energy bill.
And of course, the best way to save on your energy bill is to make sure you’re getting a great value energy plan. Here’s how to check if your energy retailer is offering you a good deal.