Whether we are lucky enough to get a white Christmas this year is out of our control. But being green this season is a great way to take charge of the color of your holidays. Whether it’s your energy consumption, your gift giving habits or simply letting the turn of the year serve as a reminder to make sustainable improvements around your home, we at Green Horizon encourage you to think of the environment as you enjoy this holiday season.
Energy consumption goes up in December, resulting from the drop in outdoor temperatures to the frenzy of holiday lighting and other activities in and around your home. Be conscious of what you can do to limit your use of electricity and gas while still being festive. In order to conserve the heat in your home, keep storm doors closed and draw the shades when you can. Don’t leave all those holiday lights on overnight or during the daytime when no one is home to appreciate them, and make sure to purchase LED lights when replacing your old strands: they use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and are likely to last a lifetime. For all your food preparation, cook wisely! Bake your dishes in smaller appliances if you can, and group a number of dishes in a sequence if you’re going to get your big oven really going. Use your microwave whenever possible.
Think beforehand about that huge pile of boxes and wrapping paper that you always end up with on Christmas morning, and make a commitment to cut it in half. Establish a responsible cycle by re-using wrapping paper saved from last year, and by preserving this year’s paper for next year rather than throwing it away. When you do purchase new wrapping, select environmentally friendly options with recycled content and natural fibers. When cleaning up after the big day, be conscious of directing recyclables and real trash to the appropriate containers. For small presents and stocking stuffers, consider practical gifts like weather stripping, compact fluorescent light bulbs or an under-sink water filter to eliminate buying so much bottled water.
This season, let the New Year be an opportunity to make some simple, sustainable changes around the house. Install a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one (and if you do, start using it properly!) Set up a dedicated, switchable surge protector to plug all those phone, camera, battery and other gadget chargers into, and switch it off when not in use: all those little black converters are always sucking electricity whether they’re charging anything or not. Lower the setting on your hot water heater and put some pipe insulation around your hot water lines where you can reach them. Install an energy monitor that is connected to your electrical panel – you can get them for as little as $125 – and put it somewhere that you’ll see it every day. You’d be surprised how your behaviour can change when you become aware of what activities consistently ramp up your electricity consumption!
From the comfort and energy professionals at Green Horizon, we wish you all the best. Have a safe, enjoyable and sustainable holiday this year!