Green Christmas

Every holiday season websites are full of tips to save money and help mother earth during the holidays. Here are 10 simple measures for a Greener less costly holiday season.

1. Consider replacing older strings of holiday lights with more energy efficient LEDs (light emitting diodes). Now available in many traditional colours, they are not only energy efficient they are also shatterproof, shock resistant and safe to touch. They present no fire hazard and can save up to 80-90% in energy compared to incandescent bulbs.

2. If LEDs are not an option consider buying new miniature lights which use about 70% less energy and last longer than larger bulbs.

3. But if you prefer the brilliance of the larger bulbs, there is still an option to reduce electricity, switch to a five watt bulb, which will reduce your costs by about 30%.

4. Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator. Doing this helps keep the fridge cold, because of the mass of cold items inside helps the fridge recover each time the door is opened.

5. Do you remember you mom and dad always telling you to close the fridge door? I sure do, well they may have been right. Leaving the fridge door open while you take out the items you need is far more efficient than opening and closing it several times.

6. Allow hot food to cool before storing it in the refrigerator or freezer. However, be sure to refrigerate or freeze hot foods within two hours of purchase or preparation or within one hour if the air temperature is above 90 degrees.

Related:   Green Holiday Gift Ideas: 5 Inexpensive and Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas

7. Use the smallest pan and burner needed for the job. A six-inch pan on an eight inch burner will waste more than 40% of the energy. Cook with lids on your pans. For example, cooking pasta without a lid on the pot can use three times as much energy.

8. If you use glass or ceramic pans, you can turn the oven temperature down 25 degrees and foods will cook just as quickly

9. Household appliances keep using electricity even if you are not there. If going on vacation during the holidays unplug televisions, stereos, computers, VCR’s, chargers, etc., since they all draw small amounts of electricity even when they are turned off.

10. When driving keep your tires properly inflated, tires at correct pressure improves gas mileage by around three percent.

These are just a few of the many ways we can make our homes and lives a little more efficient, not just for the holidays, but year round.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

A writer and photographer, Spowart has publication credits in Canada, United States, Europe and Norway with such publications as The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Sun Media, Canwest News, and Canada News Wire.

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