Tips for energy-efficient holiday decorating

During the holiday season, it's common for many homeowners to see their energy bills skyrocket. One of the biggest culprits of this occurrence is decorating. Keeping the interior and exterior of your house illuminated day and night is expensive, and not so good for the environment. 

Before you put up your holiday displays this year, be sure to check out these energy-efficient decorating tips: 

  • Buy LED light strands – The incandescent holiday lights that you have been using for years are inefficient and probably have sections that do not work. This year, consider purchasing strings with LED bulbs. They use 70 percent less energy than the traditional variety, in addition to being brighter and more eco friendly. These lights can also contribute to your home's overall energy efficiency by not overheating and triggering the air conditioning to come on – a useful trait for those of us who live in warmer clients. 
  • Find decorating alternatives – You don't just have to use strings of lights to get your house into the holiday spirit. Mix it up by using candles, bells and reflective ornaments. 
  • Keep usage to a minimum – Set timers to all of your light displays so that they will turn on after sundown and off an hour after you go to bed. Keeping your lights on only at times when most people will see them will save you money. 

While following the above suggestions can cut your energy costs during a few weeks in the winter, you may want to undertake some major renovations to improve your home's energy efficiency year round. Before doing so, remember to schedule an energy audit first.