If you’ve recently purchased a home, you might be excited to start decorating it for the holidays. From trimming the tree to stringing twinkling lights on your new roof, there are plenty of ways you can make your home more festive. But not all of your options are green. If you aim to be an eco-friendly homeowner, check out these easy tips to make your home a little more green this holiday season.
1. String up LED lights.
If you plan to purchase lights to deck out your new digs, make an investment in LED Christmas lights. Although they cost a bit more than traditional incandescent light bulbs, they will pay for themselves in energy savings over time. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, powering a 6-foot tree full of incandescent mini-lights for 12 hours a day during a 40-day holiday season will add $2.74 cents to your electricity bill. But using LED lights instead will only cost $0.82. And because LED bulbs can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent options, you can use the strands of lights for decades!
2. Throw an eco-friendly holiday party.
Regardless of whether you’re throwing a house-warming party or just want to celebrate the holidays by hosting a get-together with your friends, there’s an environmentally friendly way to go about it. Instead of loading up on food for the celebration, buy only what you need to prevent food waste. Opt for real dishes as opposed to disposable plates, cups and bowls that will just wind up in the trash. And because there are extra bodies in your home, you can also get away with turning down the heat without losing your level of comfort.
3. Give green gifts.
This holiday season extend your passion for the environment beyond your home and into the hands of the people you love. There are a number of green gift ideas available, including energy-efficient tech gadgets that your friends and family will enjoy. However, if you’re a little house poor this Christmas, some of the greenest gifts are inexpensive and handmade. For example, you might make holiday goodie baskets filled with fresh baked cookies or holiday candy. Or you could choose to turn your recyclables into unique holiday ornaments that your family can enjoy. And although re-gifting has long been considered a faux pas, it’s becoming more acceptable. Instead of hanging on to an item you won’t use, the greenest thing to do is to re-gift it to someone who might enjoy it.
4. Buy a real tree.
As you prepare for the holiday season, give special consideration to the type of Christmas tree you purchase. Artificial trees can be a cost-effective option because they can be used for years. However, they aren’t eco-friendly. Fake trees are made out of a type of plastic that doesn’t decompose and can’t be recycled. Once your tree has become worn out, it will spend eternity in the landfill. A fresh-cut Christmas tree is a greener option. Though a tree has been cut down, it can always be repurposed into mulch. And some of the largest Christmas trees are even turned into lumber and used in the construction of homes.
Even if you purchased a brand new home, it’s important that you take some time this winter to ensure that it’s as energy efficient as possible. Small cracks under doors or around windows can cause air leaks that make your warm air waft out and your energy bills rise. Place weather stripping around the inside of your door frames and caulk around windows to prevent unwanted drafts. These inexpensive solutions could save you up to 10 percent on your energy bill, according to the DOE.
Keith Patterson is a freelance writer and designer for all things green and sustainable. His work promotes the technological advancements for the benefit of our environment and the constant balance between man, gadget, and world.
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