12/13/13 :

12 Days of Energy Efficiency

Santa hat and stocking decoration, counting down to Christmas

No matter what traditions you have or what you choose to celebrate this time of year, we’ve come up with a few tips, gift ideas, and facts that will remind you of all the possibilities energy efficiency can offer this holiday season. 

Day 1:

When the weather outside is frightful, power outages can be common. Give someone the gift of preparedness with this LED bulb that doubles as a handheld flashlight. It automatically charges while being used in a light socket, and runs for four hours as a flashlight. 

Day 2:

Get creative with holiday garlands and think outside the light. Tinsel, reflective ornaments, and anything sparkly can provide just as much cheer as traditional light decorations while saving you money and energy.

Day 3:

Shopping malls get a bad rep for being costly to your wallet AND the environment – retailers use about 20% of the energy consumed by all commercial businesses. But next year you might be able to choose your shopping destinationEntering the Mall of America shopping center in Minneapolis based on its energy practices. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) just launched a new Property Efficiency Scorecard that will help shopping centers track energy usage.  Eventually, a ranking system similar to Energy Star will be put in place so you can know how efficiently your favorite neighborhood mall is consuming energy.

Day 4:

Bike fanatics – every family has one. If you’re scrambling for a unique gift idea for this special someone, look no further than this USB rechargeable Bikelane LED light. It projects highly visible red lines on both sides of the bicyclist to create a bike lane and allows for a much safer night ride. Now there’s less risk of being caught in a blind spot or of cars getting too close.

Day 5:

Only 39% of energy put into the US economy was used in 2012. If you’re hoping our country will be more energy efficient by next holiday season, adopt more energy efficient practices yourself.  Set your thermostat down when you leave town and put holiday lights (LEDs, of course) on timers for extra holiday savings.

Celebrating the holidays by sharing a meal with friends
Day 6:

While prepping feast after holiday feast, be sure to make energy efficient choices in the kitchen. It doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you take a few minutes to watch our cooking tips video, with advice ranging from the best stove and pan types to why you should resist checking on your dish in the oven every five minutes. 

Day 7:

With all of the gatherings with family and friends, dishes pile up far more quickly than normal this time of year. Run your dishwasher efficiently by using the air-drying function and avoid the “rinse hold” setting, only wash full loads, and if possible, install your dishwasher far away from your fridge (when they’re side by side, the fridge has to work harder to counteract the dishwasher's heat).

Day 8:

Gift giving can seem especially tricky when the person you’re buying for lives far away. Luckily, most major American cities now have the infrastructure for car and bike sharing memberships. You can easily purchase a membership for someone online with companies like ZipCar that breakdown rates and plans for different cities.

Day 9:

If you want stay up-to-date on energy efficiency news during the holidays, but don’t want to sacrifice family time, we’ve made it easy for you! Just subscribe to news and email alerts on our Stay Informed page. We’ll have the latest information on industry events, legislation, and other news - just fill out a quick form to determine what kind of updates you want to receive.

Day 10:Holding a box of vegetables freshly picked from the garden

A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box is an awesome gift for the foodie in your life. Most produce travels about 1,300 miles before it lands on your plate, while members of CSA services receive seasonal, local crops that use far less energy and resources to deliver.

Day 11:

Did you know that leaving appliances plugged in when they’re not in use is one of the biggest energy wasters? It’s also a great target for money and energy savings! Use this Kill A Watt device to measure which of your appliances are consuming the most, and start unplugging.

Day 12:

Americans spend an average of $65 billion on winter holiday presents each year. Even though the holidays have the reputation of excess, this time of year can also serve as a reminder of the importance of mindful energy use. Small behavioral changes now can lead to long-term energy savings later– even when you aren’t overindulging in presents and pie!