The news is yet again plastered with stories about the ‘Big Six’ energy companies and their prices, which is becoming a common discussion point with winter fast approaching. However, we know that we will always use energy, but maybe we should look at ways to use less, especially during a time when we get out the fairy lights and have the house visible from space.
We all want our houses to look Christmassy, so will empty the loft of all the tinsel, baubles, fairy lights and of course the angel for the top of the tree, as well as getting the kids to make paper chains and other random decorations to put up around the home. But, how can we retain the Christmas spirit and not spend a fortune on electricity? Here we have come up with a few tips as well as had some tweeted to us from our followers on Twitter (@anglianhome) to help you have an energy efficient Christmas.
A Christmas tree is one of the most iconic decorations for this time of year and one will stand proudly in every living room, but whether you have a real tree or an artificial one, you should try to make it as energy efficient as possible. Should you want a real Christmas tree for its aesthetics and pine aroma, here is some advice from JCPS Limited who tweeted us – “Choose a sustainable supplier for your tree & replant it – if you buy one with roots – saving energy in trips to the tip.” After Christmas you can either recycle your tree or plant it in your garden for next Christmas! Alternatively, if you want an artificial tree try to make sure it is made from natural materials – artificial trees are great to re-use year after year.
Lights are one of the biggest energy guzzlers over Christmas as people go to extraordinary lengths to recreate the perfect nativity scene and light up their trees, windows, roofs, and anything else the extension cord will reach. A survey carried out by GoCompare in 2010 discovered that having Christmas lights on for 6 hours per day over the festive period 22.8 days of energy will be consumed! That is a massive amount of electricity being used, so energy efficient fairy lights are almost a definite purchase to save your wallet from being drained. Local Traders tweeted us some great advice to help you save energy and money on lights – “Go for battery or solar powered #Christmas lights instead of electrically powered product – they’re safer too! #energytips.”
If you do have fairy lights on in the house, try not to have your main lights on too, and maybe consider having a timer for them too. There are lots of cheap options out there so you can put the lights on a time, preventing you using lots of energy. To add extra light to your room, put the fairy lights around a mirror; light will reflect off the surface and emit light back into the room. An even better option than fairy lights in a room would be to use candles on sturdy surfaces. I have seen lots of festive candle holders and if you use scented candles too, the room will be filled with wintery aromas. Keep them well away from anything flammable of course.
Tinsel and baubles look great on a tree and around the house; sparkly decorations will shimmer in the (solar powered) fairy lights and add a magical feel to the room. There are plenty of natural decorations that can be used to spruce up a room. From pine cones and holly to Poinsettia, mistletoe and deep red roses; having these hanging off your tree, as a table display or as part of a wreath hanging on your door is an energy efficient way of decorating your house. The flowers can be used to make potpourri afterwards, which will add a beautiful scent to the air. Finally, one the kids can get involved with – making paper chains. These can be recycled at the end of Christmas or packed away carefully for next year.
According to nelincs.gov.uk we use 8,000 tonnes of wrapping paper at Christmas, which is the equivalent to 50,000 trees! We need to think green when we buy wrapping paper and try to come up with the most energy efficient methods possible. If you have to use wrapping paper, try to ensure it is recycled or it has been made from a sustainable supplier. Even better, put gifts into reusable bags or stockings; the majority of wrapping paper is ripped off and doesn’t stay looking pretty despite your best efforts. If you do use wrapping paper, recycle it when you are done, or if you are an extra careful unwrapper reuse it! Not using tape will help with this, instead use ribbon to seal the presents.
You may not think of your Christmas dinner as being harmful to the environment other than the after effects of eating sprouts, but in some cases your Christmas dinner could’ve travelled thousands of miles! Source your produce locally and compost any food that isn’t eaten. This is typically a time when we pig out on food, so any leftovers that are too tasty to compost, put them in a sandwich or make soup from them; it can be a welcomed light meal.
We all love the festive period for one reason or another; some for the food, some for the drink, some for the time off work; regardless of what you love about Christmas, we still need to be energy conscious, so hopefully with these tips you can have a very merry eco-Christmas.
There is still time to enter our Home for Christmas photo competition! Simply, email us a photo of your Christmas window, conservatory or garden to [email protected] or tweet it to us using the hashtag #Christmashome