Merry and Bright—and Energy Efficient
Turn down the heat and turn up the revelry
More bodies mean more natural warmth, so turn down that thermostat when you have guests! Also, make sure you seal and insulate your home’s air ducts, as the process can improve your system’s heating and cooling efficiency by 20%.
Wash clothes in cold water:
Family + parties + overnight guests = a whole lot of laundry. While you may not be able to spare the chore of handling those extra loads, you can spare yourself the high-energy bill. When you switch loads from your normal warm water wash to cold water, you will use as much as 80% less energy if you use a standard top loading machine. Just make sure you use a detergent designed specifically for washing in lower temperatures.
Use low-watt or energy-efficient LED lights:
Light-emitting diode, or LED, lighting uses as much as 75% less energy than incandescent lighting and lasts 35 to 50 times longer. While a strand of LED bulbs may be a bit more expensive than regular bulbs, you’ll end up saving energy and money in the long run.
Resist the urge to open the oven door for a quick look at that juicy turkey or holiday ham and turn the oven light on for a glance instead. Opening the door for even a few seconds can lower oven temperature by as much as 25 degrees—increasing cooking time and wasting energy.
Save water while cleaning up.
Washing dishes by hand can actually use more water than a dishwasher would. However, if you fill up wash-and-rinse basins instead of letting water run, you’ll use half as much water as a dishwasher. If you do use the machine, make sure you wash only full loads, and pre-rinse plates with cold water, not hot.