Monday, December 5, 2022
At a time marked by a worldwide energy crisis, it is increasingly necessary for society to adapt its consumption habits to protect the environment and reduce carbon emissions, and this entails reducing energy consumption.
However, with Christmas just around the corner, household energy bills tend to skyrocket as a result of holiday lighting, gatherings and meals, travel, and lower temperatures. According to the Association of Energy Consumers, electricity consumption in December and January rises cyclically by 28%, resulting in a 19% increase in the final bill—without taking into account price variations.
There are many cities that take steps every year to reduce the energy costs associated with lighting and Christmas celebrations, but what can you do at home to save energy to save energy and do our bit to make a more sustainable world?
LED bulbs for tree lights and heating to 21 °C
There are many practices that you can include in your routine to save energy during this special time. One of the keys is using energy-efficient lighting with LED bulbs in ornaments, decorations, and Christmas lights. This type of bulb saves up to 90% electricity savings in homes and have a life of 50,000 hours, compared to 1,000 hours for incandescent lamps.
In addition, a responsible habit is to limit the hours when decorative lights are turned on to special moments, reducing the energy they use when no one is in the room. If you have an hourly rate (peak, standard, and off-peak hours), pay attention to the periods of the day when electricity will be more expensive or cheaper and try to adapt your routine to them.
An increasingly widespread method to save energy is to use timers and smart plugs, which will help you avoid falling into phantom power. This quiet expense of household appliances and electrical devices when they are plugged in, but not in use, represents between 7 and 10% of electricity of energy consumed per year in Spain, according to the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE). (IDAE). To combat this, timers open and close the electrical circuit, some automatically and even from your phone, enabling you to switch on and off devices and even program them to activate automatically. If you are not going to be at home, it is best to unplug all appliances that do not require to be permanently connected to the mains.
Also, the festive season is usually marked by a general drop in temperatures—at least in the northern hemisphere. Nearly half of the energy consumed by Spanish households is to heat their homes, although this depends on the region where they live. According to data from the OCU, every household will spend about 750 euros a year on heating, but the final cost may vary depending on the system used. Electric radiators and stoves are the most expensive, compared to more economical alternatives such as heat pumps, pellet stoves, and natural gas. If you have no other choice, temperature is the key. You do not need to walk around the house in short sleeves, and you should remember that for every degree you increase the temperature, energy consumption increases by approximately 7%. The IDAE recommends that the temperature be between between 19 and 21 °C and heating systems be turned off at the night. In addition, properly insulating your house, closing windows, and doors after ventilating (10 minutes is enough), as well as lowering blinds and curtains at dusk will help prevent heat loss.
Celebration in a sustainable pitch: sustainable cooking and eco-gifts
You can save on more than electricity use during the Christmas holidays. At a time of family gatherings and many meals, it is best to try to reduce travel as much as possible, opt for public transport, more environmentally responsible modes, or simply walk. In this way, you reduce CO2 emissions from the transportation sector.
On the stoves, it is recommended to take advantage of the heat to prepare different dishes: pressure cookers are faster and more efficient than traditional ones, and covering the pots will save the heat and cook the food more quickly. When sitting at the table, it is better to opt for a dishwasher rather than plastic cutlery and plates, and when it comes to washing up, a full dishwasher is the most efficient option to avoid wasting water. If this is not possible, try not to overuse hot water.
When it comes to the shopping basket, choosing local businesses also helps reduce your carbon footprint. The food sector accounts for 20 to 25% of global CO2 emissions and opting for zero-kilometer, seasonal, and unpackaged products is a responsible habit to reduce our impact this holiday season. In addition, in the days following large meals, practicing trash cooking, or making use of everything, is a recipe that will help reduce food waste.
But it's not all about preparing and cooking food. When it comes to gifts you can also save in every way: practicing more responsible consumption, choosing on handmade gifts, items and toys in good condition that are no longer used, and sustainable brands whose production model is respectful of the planet. To wrap them, the key is creativity: you can make use of old newspapers and magazines, fabrics you have at home, wooden boxes, glass, or cardboard, and opt for natural decorations such as dried flowers or pine cones instead of bows or other decorations.
And when it all is over… Recycle! Although during the holidays we have implemented new routines to generate less waste, the waste that you were unable to avoid can be recycled by depositing it in the corresponding container or recycling station. As for anything that can be reused, save it for the next holiday season. Step by step, we will make Christmas a little more sustainable and respectful with the planet without forgoing our traditions.
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