Have an energy-efficient Christmas


bret curry

It’s Christmas 2015 and many of you have transitioned to energy-efficient LED lighting for your Christmas tree, fireplace mantel, house and landscape. LED holiday lighting uses approximately 80 percent less energy and is bu ilt to last. Under normal use, it is projected to last for at least four decades. Plus, the days of finding the needle-in-the-haystack burnt-out bulb are over. Furthermore, market competition and economics are driving prices even lower. The timing is right to shop for LED holiday lighting and make the switch! For more details about LED lights, check out the November 2014 Smart Energy Tips column where I compare LED holiday lighting energy consumption data. http://onlinedigitalpubs.com/publication/?i=230134&p=20

Speaking of shopping, I recently read the findings from a holiday shopper behavior survey. What I learned was I’m not alone in waiting until after Cyber Monday to begin Christmas shopping. I tip my cap to you Santas who are finished shopping before I begin. If you can relate and are just now getting started in search of a unique gift idea or some stocking-stuffers, allow me to offer some energy efficiency ideas.

  • Brighten somebody’s holiday with some LEDs that can be used in lamps and overhead light fixtures. One of my favorites is the new Bright Stik from General Electric. These are sold in three-packs at major box stores and cost less than $4 each. They have a 15,000-hour-rated lifespan and last 50 percent longer than CFLs, and 15 times longer than incandescent and halogen bulbs. They also come with a three-year warranty, will save you more than $82 in energy cost versus a 60-watt incandescent and will produce an appealing color.
  •  Another neat gift idea is the SnapPower Charger. This unique device is designed to upgrade an existing electrical outlet into a sleek, energy-efficient USB charger. The concept is brilliant and one can simply replace an existing cover plate with a SnapPower Charger. They are easy to install, available in white, light almond and ivory. They require no wiring or batteries and leave the outlet free for use. Even though installation is simple, be sure to read and follow the electrical safety instructions.
  • SnapPower also offers the Guidelight. This device converts an outlet cover plate into a convenient nightlight. These ultra-efficient lighting devices use LED technology and are perfect for nighttime lighting of bathrooms, hallways, stairways and more. I use both SnapPower devices in my home, and I’m impressed with their performance. These items are not available in retail stores, yet are available for online purchase. Visit www.snappower.com.
  • A WeMo device is a perfect gift for the hard-to-buy-for person on your list. WeMo is a series of products from Belkin International that enables users to control home lighting, appliances and electronics from anywhere with a smartphone or tablet. Their product suite includes a switch for turning on/off lights, various consumer appliances like coffee makers and slow-cookers, and more. WeMo devices are available at all major retailers and box stores. I use the WeMo Switch and love it! www.belkin.com/us/Products/home-automation/c/wemo-home-automation/.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Please feel free to contact me at smartenergytips@aecc.com with any energy efficiency questions. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/smartenergytips.org as well as listen to our podcasts.

Bret Curry is the residential energy marketing manager for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation.