Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
How to green your holidays:
KEEPING THINGS BRIGHT BUT ENERGY EFFICIENT
MANHATTAN -- It's a sign of the season.
Many residential neighborhoods are aglow with holiday lights of all shapes, sizes and colors. Inflatable holiday characters, like snowmen and Santas, and lighting displays decorate homes and yards, all to spread holiday cheer.
While the displays are merry, they also can increase energy consumption and electric bills. But a Kansas State University expert in residential energy says there are a few simple ways to limit holiday decoration energy consumption.
Bruce Snead, instructor for the Kansas Industrial Extension Service, suggests using fewer lights or non-electric displays as a first step toward remaining conscious of energy usage. Another method is using LED lights in place of traditional incandescent lighting.
"LED lights are far more energy efficient -- using up to 90 percent less energy -- and safer due to lower operating temperatures," he said.
When selecting the perfect inflatable representation of holiday spirit it’s important to consider how Frosty and Santa maintain their shape, Snead said. Those seemingly small factors can influence your holiday electric bill.
"If they only use a fan to inflate them one time then the energy use would be minimal. But if they require constant fan operation, the energy usage, which depends on size of the inflatable, could be significant," he said.
Minimizing energy consumption is an important consideration during the holiday season regardless of cost, according to Snead.
"By using less energy we reduce environmental impacts, keep energy costs down and demonstrate conservation to our neighbors and community," he said.