The holidays are all about enjoying time with friends and family and looking back over the year.
As 2021 draws to a close, we’ll all remember this year for its extreme weather, like the heat dome bringing 49°C temperatures in June, and atmospheric rivers causing floods and destruction in November and December.
While the effects of climate change is a great reminder to think about the way we use energy, there are several reasons to think about electricity conservation and safety around during the holidays. Many people are celebrating the holidays together again, which means more cooking. Electronics and smart devices are a popular item on gift lists, which means more charging. And this year, La Niña’s back with a cold winter forecast, which means more heating. This really is a great opportunity to educate students and encourage their whole family to be power smart for the holidays.
We’ve come up with 10 easy ways to make the holidays a little safer and a little greener — without ruining anyone’s fun:
Get prepared for storm season Winter storm season isn’t over yet, so it’s important for the whole family to get prepared for outages with a preparedness plan and emergency kit, and know what to do around a downed or damaged powerline.
Turn the TV off and get outdoors when you can Reconnect with friends and family by doing an outdoor activity like sledding or skiing. Even going for a group hike will bring everyone together and burn off a few holiday calories. These activities can be more fun and energy-conscious than watching TV.
Check your outdoor holiday lights While we’re outdoors, ensure students are aware of safety tips for parents putting up holiday lights outside their homes or gardens, such as checking the insulation on extension cords, and keeping electrical connections off the ground and away from water.
Check your indoor holiday lights As well as being more energy efficient, LED holiday lights are also safer — especially indoors. Because LED lights use less electricity and don't create heat, they reduce the risk of fire.
Look out for younger siblings Make sure children know that they shouldn’t pull on cords, touch sockets or unplugged cables and to keep liquids away from anything electrical. They should also avoid touching holiday lights indoors and outdoors. If in doubt, ask an adult.
Don’t overload your power bars Power bars come in very handy over the holidays. Many homes are full of electrical items, and with visiting friends and relatives, there can be lots of electronic devices charging as well. But it’s important to make sure your power bars aren’t overloaded. To be safe, your family might want to consider an advanced power strip or two.
Put on a sweater instead of turning up the heat If anyone in your home is feeling a bit chilly, adding a layer of clothing’s the fastest way to warm up. If you turn up the heating, it can take a while to feel the benefit and it also uses a lot of energy — especially if you forget to turn it back down again later.
Save more with an ENERGY STAR® TV If your family is upgrading this year, make sure you buy an ENERGY STAR® rated LED TV — they use up to 25% less electricity than non-ENERGY STAR models.
Turn off your electronics When your holiday movie ends, don’t leave all your electronics on standby for the night, turn them off. It’s no extra effort, it saves energy and it’s safer.
Unplug your holiday lights and decorations at night Lastly, before you go to bed, don’t forget to unplug or set a timer for all the indoor and outdoor lights and any electrical decorations.
To help your students feel like they’re not alone in trying to make a difference, look into what energy saving plans your school has for the holidays and share them with the class. Many schools use this time to do deep cleans, check that outlets aren’t overloaded, lower the temperature, close all the windows and shut off some of the bigger, energy-hungry items like EV chargers.
Thank you for all your support in 2021. You’re doing a fantastic job and we hope that Power Smart for Schools activities and lessons have helped to inspire you and your class throughout the year.