FPL rings in the holiday season with tips for energy savings
January 23, 2012

A sparkling holiday display is the perfect setting for seasonal celebrations where you’ll be exchanging gifts and cooking up a storm for friends and family. But are your holiday lights, gifts and cooking methods on the naughty or nice energy-efficiency list? Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) provides information about the common causes of high bills and solutions to reduce energy costs this holiday season.

Holiday Decor
When it comes to holiday lighting, LED (light-emitting diodes) lights shine in more ways than one - they can save you money and energy. Make the bright choice and opt for LED lighting this season. Outshine your neighbors using these tips as your guide to holiday lighting and lower bills.

• Get more light for your money. If you're having trouble quantifying the energy savings of LED lights, consider this: The amount of power it takes to operate just one 7-watt incandescent holiday bulb could power two 24-foot LED strings - enough to light a six foot tree. Additionally, LED light strings last about 10 times longer.

• Save energy and the environment. Supplement your holiday displays with ornaments such as wreaths, ribbons and other decorations that don't consume energy.

• All-in-one money saver. Plug holiday lights and other electronic decorations into a power strip to make it convenient to turn them all off before bedtime and boost energy savings. New “smart” power strips allow you to selectively turn some lights on, and others off.

• Time is on your side. Set timers for your holiday displays to turn off before bedtime so there is no need to burn the lights all night long.

Hosting Guests and Entertaining
It takes a lot of energy – both physical and electrical – to host guests and prepare meals for family and friends during the season. Whether you’re cooking holiday dinners for relatives or baking cookies for an office potluck, keep these tips in mind to minimize your electricity usage in the kitchen:

• Keep the oven door closed. Ovens lose lots of heat when opened and require significant energy to heat back up to the appropriate temperature. Instead of opening the door to check on your food, turn on the interior light and look through the oven’s window.

• Choose glass or ceramic pans for the oven. These pans heat faster than metal ones and allow you to set the temperature 25 degrees lower than a recipe suggests for the same cooking time.

• Use smaller appliances such as crock-pots, microwaves and toaster ovens when possible. These can be much more energy-efficient for side dishes or small meals.

• Gently remind guests to turn off lights and fans when they leave the room. Stopping one ceiling fan from running all the time and turning at least one light off when you leave the room can save you more than $7 a month in energy costs. Remember, fans do not actually cool your home. Fans only improve the circulation of air, making you feel cooler.

• Before overnight guests arrive, switch out guest room and common area lighting to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Each CFL bulb you install will save you about $50 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.

Holiday Gift Buying
Making a list? Checking it twice? Before you head to the store, check FPL’s list of gifts that are on the “nice” energy list.

• The ENERGY STAR shines bright. Newer ENERGY STAR models meet stricter requirements and can save up to 30 percent on energy over standard models.

• Opt for a laptop computer over a desktop computer. The amount of energy one desktop computer uses could power three laptop computers.

• Warm up savings with new washer or dryer. Ninety percent of energy used doing laundry comes from heating the dryer. To save energy and money, look for more efficient models –newer washers spin faster, which reduces drying time and uses energy more efficiently.

• Smaller doesn’t necessarily mean less power usage. The same amount of power used to charge one MP3 player could charge both a cell phone and a digital camera.

FPL customers have the lowest bills in the state but there are still more ways to save. Visit www.FPL.com/myplan to take FPL’s free online home energy survey to save energy throughout the year. For more ideas, view a video of holiday tips at http://tinyurl.com/7y7rsbv.