As Christmas approaches many of us look forward to decorating our homes to show our holiday spirit. While many of our decorations involve lights and mechanical figures, there must be some way to still enjoy them without increasing our carbon footprint or energy bill.
One way is to buy solar powered Christmas lights. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to rely on the placement of an exterior outlet when putting your lights up? With solar powered lights you don’t have to worry about plugging them in at all and they come on automatically once the sun goes down. You can even find solar powered decorations at Target, Vine.com, Collections etc., and NewEgg.com.
Another eco-friendly way of decorating is to acquire LED Christmas lights for indoor or outdoor use. According to Christmas Lights Etc., LED lights have a long bulb life, burn bright, reduce energy costs, and come in all difference sizes.
Furthermore, an article written by Danielle Crofford Fetters, contains more eco-friendly decoration ideas such as how to create a Christmas wreath out of ice if temperatures reach below freezing or suggests making “tin can luminaries” from recycled materials that can be used to light up your drive way.
If you plan on just using the same lights that you pull out from your attic each year, but want to know how much more energy they use, you can calculate it by the use of this website, Christmas Light Source. Another thing to look into is Baltimore Gas and Electric’s website to find out during what times are peak-cost for energy. Apparently peak-costs of energy are from 7 am to 11 am and then again at 5 pm to 9 pm for the winter season. Keeping track of energy costs won’t help the environment per se, but since peak hours are during dusk to 9 pm, this allows more of an incentive to get environmentally friendly lights that will help save you money and keep our world cleaner from less CO2 emissions.
Maryland right now has a per capita Carbon Score of 40, according to eRedux.com. We have the 19th highest resident population and each of us, per population average, produces around 15 tons of CO2 per year. We are also the 29th highest CO2 polluting state in America.
Governor O’ Malley has been working to reduce Maryland’s electricity consumption by 15% by 2015 with the EmPOWER Maryland Program. In order to reach this goal the O’Malley-Brown Administration, along with Maryland’s utility companies and the Public Service Commission, has developed yearly goals to reduce Maryland’s Per Capita Peak Demand and Per Capita Energy Usage gradually until reaching the full 15% reduction. So far Maryland has been doing very well by dropping its per capita peak demand by 3% in 2011 compared to 2010, which is 61% of the state’s goal. It also dropped its per capita electricity consumption by almost 4%, which is 34% of the 2015 goal.
Therefore, in order to keep up the good work, let’s not let the holiday season be an excuse to increase our energy use. There are ways to celebrate the holiday while still keeping the earth in mind. Start an eco-friendly Christmas tradition today, so that your children can enjoy a healthy earth and can inherit these earth conscious customs from you.