Holiday Cents – Energy Efficiency for the Happiest Season of All

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Texas is known for its hot summers (we really overdid it this summer!) and here at TXU Energy we pride ourselves in our commitment to educate people across the state on how to beat the heat. But Texas winters have also been known to bring their own challenges (as you might remember that cold little Super Bowl week last February) that are worth talking about.

As the holiday months roll around, the last thing I want to worry about is my electricity bill, but my stovetop, oven and dishwasher run overtime and the door to my refrigerator stays open more often than it stays closed. Four years ago, TXU Energy introduced our Holiday Cents program to make it easy for you to save during the holidays when energy usage usually goes on the rise – savings that can be put to good use like buying presents! I’ve learned there are some very easy ways to save money around the home – something we all need more of during the holidays.

Over the past several years, I’ve incorporated some of our holiday energy efficiency tips into my own holiday decorating and cooking. I’m no Clark Griswold (you won’t find 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights on my house!) but I do enter the holiday season with the same spirit and enthusiasm as Clark would, and I can’t help but show that in every way possible. So take a moment and look at our Holiday Cents energy tips so your electricity bill will seem a lot less like a lump of coal in your stocking.

Decorating Tips

  • Decorate with LEDs – Get rid of your old holiday bulbs (you know the ones – the big ball of lights in your garage waiting to be untangled), and start using Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). One traditional bulb in a strand of holiday lights (incandescent c9) uses six watts. An entire strand of 50 LED lights uses only four watts and they are pretty too.
  • Pre-lit decorations – These are the best. Avoid the mess and hassles associated with real garland and use pre-lit LED wreaths and artificial garlands on the mantel and stair railings. This not only saves assembly time, but it also provides considerable cost-savings year after year. And your allergies might thank you, too!
  • Timers – Use timers to control lights and inflatable displays. This way Frosty will deflate himself and you don’t have to worry about finding all those plugs and switches on your way to bed each night.
  • Consider non-electric decorations – Display holiday decorations like wreaths, garlands, fresh flowers, topiaries, battery operated candles, ribbons, ornaments and ceramic displays. These festive decorations add holiday flair and don’t consume electricity. So this year, put away the leg lamp and find a more energy efficient way to create your own holiday story.

 Cooking Tips

  • Use the microwave as much as possible – Microwave ovens use much less electricity than a stove or oven, so use them when you can.
  • Use slow cookers – Slow cookers can cook a whole meal (that’s right a whole meal) for about 17 cents worth of electricity. And it makes the house smell good too!
  • Choose glass or ceramic pans for the oven – Glass or ceramic pans heat faster than metal pans and allow you to set the temperature 25 degrees lower. Plus, meals cook just as quickly.
  • Match the pan size to the size of the stovetop burner – This is an easy one – make sure the pan size is consistent with the stovetop burner size. If the stovetop burner is larger than the pan size you’re losing energy.

Every year I eagerly anticipate the holidays and worrying about my electric meter ticking away is not something I plan on celebrating. The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, new and old, reflect on the year and be thankful.

Have a wonderful holiday season with your family and loved ones.

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