How to bring greater energy efficiency to 5 favorite holiday traditions
We all expend enough energy over the holidays, don’t you think? Cooking up a storm. Running around town (or Amazon) buying gifts for everyone on the list. It can all be physically and mentally draining. In fact, so many of our shared holiday traditions – whether you celebrate Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any other winter holiday – can be a financial and energy drain.
Think about it. You need heat (lots and lots of heat) to bake grandma’s famous holiday sugar cookies, a giant ham, crispy pakora or bubbie’s potato latkes. You need hundreds of watts per hour to keep those cute (or not) holiday inflatables blown up for all the neighbors to marvel, gawk or snicker. You need electricity to power all the holiday lights flickering. Then you probably have the TV going with parades, family movies and football games.
Well, this is your opportunity to get ahead of that post-holiday electric bill and take a few simple, proactive steps to save energy and money. Don’t worry – they’re super easy and they won’t diminish any of your holiday spirit or fun.
TRADITION #1: DECORATIONS
Put your inflatables on a timer
Maybe they run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and then shut down overnight? A timer could help you save between 50 and 200 watts an hour.
TRADITION #2: LIGHTING
Switch to LED lights
Make this the year you toss away the lights that have been in your attic for a generation and buy yourself some energy-efficient LEDs. They use less energy and will likely help you save for generations to come. Check out our holiday lighting calculator and discover the energy-saving potential of LEDs.
Mix up your décor
Use less plugged-in lighting indoors. Instead, consider tinsel, silver bells, reflective menorahs and other shiny decorations and objects designed to help cut energy costs and still bounce the light around in the room.
TRADITION #3: COOKING
Is the oven on?
Many families cook one holiday dish at a time and the oven never really gets shut off. To be more efficient, try cooking several items together and group the items that cook at the same temperature. Don’t worry – they’ll all be delicious!
Do you check on how those cookies are coming along?
Don’t. Try to resist the urge to open your oven door. Each time you do, your oven temperature can drop by as much as 25% and require more energy just to get back to the desired temperature.
To preheat or not to preheat?
Many experts agree that foods that need to cook more than an hour don’t need to go into a preheated oven. Those extra 12 minutes of oven warming time really add up.
Turn it off early
Turning the oven off 10-15 minutes before a dish is expected to be done is another way to cut down on energy costs. Energy efficiency never tasted so good.
TRADITION #4: ENTERTAINING
Body heat is energy-efficient heat
Rather than rely on heated air to stay warm, this season turn down that thermostat and make up the difference with warm and cozy pajamas, slippers and blankets. After all, everybody needs an excuse to bust out their favorite tacky holiday sweater.
TV, TV and more TV
Many holiday traditions revolve around the television. But a board game, charades or trivia night can inspire many of the same laughs and help create new favorite family moments. So go ahead – unplug and connect in real life with the ones you love.
TRADITION #5: GIFT GIVING
No batteries. No electric. No problem.
A gift that comes from the heart doesn’t necessarily need a wall outlet. Plug into what really matters and consider buying gifts that don’t need to be powered up (or down).
Duke Energy wishes you and your loved ones a healthy and energy-efficient holiday season. For more energy-saving tips, tools and resources, visit our Energy Savings & Efficiency page.