Staying Energy Smart during the holiday season

When winter holiday time rolls around, energy use can rise considerably with all the extra decorating and entertaining shared with family and friends. 

Decorating tips

Consider buying miniature lights, which use about 70 percent less energy and last much longer than the larger bulbs. If you prefer larger lights, switch to 5-watt bulbs, which use about 30 percent less energy than 7-10 watt bulbs. 

Want something new or different? Look for LED holiday bulbs – they’re shatterproof, shock resistant, safe to touch and won’t burn your hands. Plus, they save 80 to 90 percent of energy costs and can last up to 20 years.  

Plug indoor and outdoor lighting displays into a timer set to run during the earlier evening hours. 

Rather than adding more lights to a tree, try enhancing the existing lighting with tinsel, mirrored ornaments and other reflective decorations. 

Entertaining tips

Cook as many dishes as possible in the microwave during the holidays. Because microwaves cook food so quickly, the typical model uses as much as 75 percent less energy than a conventional oven. 

Use a slow cooker. For about 17 cents worth of electricity, an entire meal can be prepared. 

Check cooking progress by looking through the window of the oven. Opening the oven door for even a few seconds lowers the temperature inside by as much as 25 degrees. 

If using glass or ceramic plans, try turning the oven down by 25 degrees. The dish may cook just as quickly.

When cooking on a stove top, match the size of the pan to the heating element. More heat will get to the pan and less will be lost. A six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner will waste more than 40 percent of the energy. 

Keep the refrigerator and freezer well stocked. A full refrigerator or freezer saves energy by reducing the recovery time when the door is opened. 

A load of dishes cleaned in a dishwasher requires 37 percent less water than washing dishes by hand. However, if you fill the wash and rinse basins instead of letting the water run, you’ll use half as much water as a dishwasher after your holiday party. 

If you opt to use the dishwasher, wash full loads in cold water only and don’t forget the energy-saving cycles whenever possible. Dishwashers that feature air power or overnight dry settings can save up to 10 percent of dishwashing energy costs. 

For additional information on energy efficiency, contact Conway Corporation at 501.450.6000 or visit and click on the Energy Smart quick link.