West Oregon Electric Cooperative is proud to sponsor this year’s Vernonia Spirit of Christmas House Decorating contest. Start planning the decorations you are going to use now, and get ready to make your home stand out and represent the warm glow of this special season. Check out the energy efficiency tips below for some helpful hints on how to decorate with LED lights and keep that holiday spirit alive without wasting energy.
• Consider replacing older strings of holiday lights with more energy efficient light emitting diodes, LEDs. Most stores now sell LED lights, and many of the new outside Christmas decorations are already made with them. Minimize fire hazard risk with LEDs, as they are shatterproof, shock resistant, safe to touch, and shouldn’t overload your electric circuits. LEDs save up to 80-90 percent of your decorative lighting energy costs, and use 10 times less energy than incandescent mini-lights and 100 times less energy than standard bulbs.
• Wait until dark to turn on your Christmas lights and make sure to turn them off before you go to bed. Six hours or less of daily use is a good goal to aim for.
• Using holiday lighting wisely can lower power consumption. Timers and photo cells can help reduce power usage by turning the lights on at dusk and turning them off at a desired time. Just make sure that the timer you use is rated to handle the total wattage of your lights.
• Fiber optic trees and decorations are the ultimate in energy efficiency. In most cases, they use a single light bulb located in the base of the unit to light the entire decoration. That makes them energy smart and budget smart.
• Turn your room lights off when your tree lights are on. The lights on your Christmas tree may provide more than enough lighting to navigate around the room.
• Christmas lights are nice, but so are candles. Set up luminaries along your walkway and use candles throughout your home to achieve a beautiful holiday glow, without adding to the electric bill. Just be sure to use them safely and never leave them unattended. Also the new LED flameless candles are great for giving a room that candle glow without the dangers of an open flame, all with one little battery that lasts a very long time.
• Use your microwave and toaster oven for small holiday cooking tasks, and save the oven for big cooking tasks.
• The holiday season is a big time for baking. Make the most of your oven and the energy that goes into heating it, by cooking several dishes at once. Remember: it takes the same amount of energy to heat a full oven as it does a nearly empty one.
• Whether preparing holiday feasts or simply doing some baking, don’t be tempted to open the oven door. Every time you do, the temperature goes down 25 degrees, forcing your oven to work harder and use more energy.
• Use lids on your pots; foods cook faster (meaning less energy use) when the lid is on and you use the right cookware. There is a lot to be said for proper tools in the kitchen, and investing in the right cooking instruments can actually help you cut back on your energy use while helping you create delicious holiday treats.
• Don’t pre-rinse your dishes. Dishwashers today are powerful enough to clean without the necessity of pre-washing everything. Just scrape the big stuff off and put them in the dishwasher to cut back on water use and energy by letting your dishwasher fulfill its purpose on its own.
• While entertaining guests, you can turn the thermostat down. The extra bodies in the house means extra warmth at no cost to you.
• Remember entertaining guests after dinner can be as simple as playing some board games, or taking a walk around Vernonia to look at Christmas lights and decorations. The important part of the season is spending time with your family and friends.
We wish everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving and energy efficient holiday season. Remember a few simple changes can make a difference in your energy bills (credit hunter). Using just a few of these tips can keep you festive and energy smart without your family and friends even noticing the difference. Good luck to all of the house decorating contestants and enjoy the upcoming Holidays!