Small house with glowing garland on white table

It’s officially December, which means the holiday season is upon us. While excitement and jolliness are in the air, the holiday season typically means more time at home, leading to increased energy usage as you entertain guests. While preparing for the festivities, learn about energy-efficient ways to prepare your home for the holidays.

1. Turn Down the Heat

Turning down the heat when the weather is colder may seem odd. But, if you’re planning on having people over for a holiday party or big dinner, turn the heat down a few degrees before they arrive. The human body produces a lot of heat, so the more people that are in one area, the warmer it becomes – so your HVAC system doesn’t have to do all the work!

2. Decorate Efficiently

Decorating is part of the joy of the holiday season. But large outdoor displays, thousands of lights, and electronic décor can quickly add to your energy bill. This year, rethink your holiday display – do you need four blow-up snowmen, or would one suffice? Can any of your decorations be swapped for battery-powered options? When was the last time you replaced your light strands? Consider investing in ENERGY STAR lighting products – they use 75% less energy than incandescent light strings and come with a warranty of at least three years.

Additionally, use automatic light timers to cut back on wasted energy. You can set them to turn on when it gets dark and turn off before you go to bed (no one wants bright lights shining in their windows when they’re trying to sleep – if you’ve ever seen Deck the Halls, you know what we’re talking about!)

3. Find Ways to Stay Warm

Heating your home uses more energy than any other system in your home, typically accounting for about 30% of your utility bill. To turn down the heat, you have to find other ways to stay cozy this holiday season.

  • If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, maximize it!
  • Layer up with socks, sweatshirts, and sweatpants.
  • Break out your favorite blanket – extra points if it’s an electric blanket!
  • Make warming foods and drinks like soup, chili, hot chocolate, coffee, and tea.

4. Keep Doors & Windows Closed

While entertaining this holiday season, many people will be in and out of your house. Around 11% of your heat is lost through your doors, so make sure doors are properly sealed each time someone enters or exits.

Similarly, around 10% of your home’s heat is lost through windows. It’s unlikely that any of your guests will open windows on a cold winter night, but a more common cause of heat loss is worn or missing weather stripping. Be sure to check windows and doors for drafts, and seal them if you find them.

5. Cook Smart

With the holidays comes comfort food – and lots of it! While you’re cooking for friends and family, keep these tips in mind to stay energy-efficient in the kitchen:

  • Prep all your food – like chopping vegetables and seasoning meat – before turning on any appliances.
  • Look for opportunities to use smaller appliances like toaster ovens, slow cookers, air fryers, and pressure cookers instead of your stove or oven.
  • Use lids – this will allow you to lower the temperature while cooking at the same rate.
  • Match your burner to your pot/pan size to not waste extra heat.
  • When using your oven, try to cook multiple dishes at once to maximize your energy.
  • Avoid opening your oven while in use to keep in heat.

As the holiday season arrives and we prepare to welcome friends and family into our homes, it’s essential to consider ways to make our celebrations both enjoyable and energy-efficient. With these tips, you can prepare your home for the holidays by creating a cozy, welcoming atmosphere for your loved ones while also being mindful of the environment and your energy bills. Wishing you a joyful and energy-smart holiday season!