The holiday shopping season is upon us once again, with brick-and-mortar and online retailers alike promising big savings on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s hard to resist impulse buys, but a little research ahead of that big shopping spree can yield some energy-saving gifts that keep on giving all year by saving money on the recipient’s energy bill.
Utility Promotions & Rebates
Unitil’s Mass Save® programs help customers save on energy-efficient products by way of mail-in or online fillable rebate forms and through their online stores. From air purifiers and low-flow showerheads to advanced power strips and smart thermostats, it’s never been easier to help protect the environment while saving energy, money, and improving home comfort.
Unitil’s Massachusetts customers can take advantage of limited-time discounts ranging from $30 to $70 on Honeywell, Sensi, and Nest thermostats – including the popular Nest Learning Thermostat. This promotion through our Mass Save program is available through November 30, 2021.
This can also be a great time to upgrade that aging refrigerator or replace your inefficient dishwasher, but you can continue to save even more money over time by investing in ENERGY STAR® certified appliances. ENERGY STAR also recognizes appliances that meet the criteria of its “Most Efficient” designation, awarded to appliances that represent the best in energy savings and environmental protection.
With the exception of heating and cooling, large appliances make up the largest chunk of our home energy consumption. Here are some additional tips for appliance shopping.
- Size: Take a look at the capacity for the appliance. A two-person family doesn't require nearly the washing machine capacity that a five-person family does. Similarly, an upright or chest freezer operates more efficiently when it’s full to capacity.
- Energy-Saving Options: Does the appliance have settings that further help you save energy? Dryers that use moisture sensors shut off when your desired level of dryness is reached, while machines with timers continue to tumble, long after the clothing is dry.
- Recyclability: Big box stores will recycle your old appliance when you purchase a new one, saving you the time and effort of a trip to the transfer station. Some energy providers may also arrange to pick up old, inefficient refrigerators and freezers, and may even pay you for them.
The Gift of Energy Efficiency
A smart plug is a power receptacle that plugs into a traditional outlet in your home, allowing you to control whatever is plugged into that device with your smartphone or virtual home assistant. For example, if you forget to turn off the coffeemaker before leaving for the office, a smart plug will enable you to “unplug” it, even if you are miles from home.
Similarly, eco chargers are designed to cut off the flow of electricity to your electronic device once a full charge has been reached, thus curbing unnecessary power draw.
Think Outside the (Big) Box
According to ENERGY STAR, cooking a meal in a toaster oven can save as much as 50% of the energy used to cool the same meal in a conventional electric oven. Slow cookers use very little electricity, relying on trapped heat to cook food, and the popular Instant Pot can do everything a slow cooker can – and more.
Household consumerism is responsible for as much as 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Best Buy is offering the Philips Hue starter kit with three Bluetooth-enabled bulbs for setting up energy-saving LED ambient and task lighting that you can control with your smartphone or virtual assistant.
Google Nest Temperature Sensors communicate with your Nest thermostat and your smartphone to provide up-to-the minute temperature information so you can make informed decisions about heating and cooling adjustments.
Smart power strips make great gifts, particularly for the media aficionados and gamers in your life. Some models even allow you to monitor how much energy connected devices consume and can be controlled from anywhere via smartphone.
Trade that tangle of Christmas lights you have stashed in the attic for energy-efficient LED string lights. LEDs use 75% less electricity, last 25 times longer, and they’re safer because they remain cool to the touch. They do cost more than their incandescent counterparts, but chances are you’ll have them for many years to come.
It’s easy to dial back the thermostat a few more degrees when you have a fluffy down (or down-alternative) comforter to snuggle under. According to energy.gov, you can expect to save 1% on your heating bill for every degree that you lower the thermostat. Pair with a programmable or smart thermostat to return the temperature to a comfortable setting before you wake or return home for the evening.
- The holidays can be a great time to take advantage of savings on household items that decrease your carbon footprint and save money in the process.
- Outsmarting the energy “vampires” can be as simple as plugging your electronics into a smart power strip for total control with the touch of a single button.
- A one-time investment in LED holiday string lights will not only save money on your electric bill, but will brighten your home, inside and out, for many years to come.