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Easy ways to earn big energy savings as you celebrate the season

Santa Barbara, CA, December 2014 — Being conscious of your home’s energy efficiency this holiday season doesn’t mean being a “Scrooge.” In fact, following these six simple energy tips could help lower utility bills and free up some cash for extra holiday goodies.

  1. Choose LED holiday lights. LED holiday lights use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent sets, are more shatter resistant and can last as many as 40 holiday seasons, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. As many as 25 strings of LED lights can be chained from a single socket and are cooler, reducing the risk of fires and burn injuries.

  2. Set holiday lights on timers. Everyone has fallen asleep without remembering to unplug the tree and outdoor lights. Setting up a timer that automatically switches them on when it gets dark and off later in the evening saves the hassle of remembering and some cash on the electricity bill.

  3. Seal Leaks. While making your home look festive, remember to set aside some time to caulk leaks near windows and doors. Altogether, small cracks and crevices can add up to a hula-hoop size hole in a home. Sealing them could result in a 20 percent savings on heating bills.

  4. Give energy efficient gifts. An Energy Star product can be the gift that keeps on giving, as these items can help households cut energy bills down by $700 a year.

  5. Use the oven efficiently. It’s the time of year for gathering in the kitchen to prepare a massive family meal. Bake multiple items in the oven at a time and open it sparingly to keep heat in. Also consider using an efficient microwave oven when appropriate.

  6. Open drapes during the day. Even as temperatures fall, there aren’t many cloudy days on the Central Coast. Opening drapes to let the sunshine in will go a long way to naturally heat a home. Follow-up by closing them at night to help keep heat in.

Want to take the energy savings even further? Schedule a free home site visit from an emPower Energy Coach by visiting

About emPower Central Coast

The emPower program was established by Santa Barbara County to help the community preserve the environment by lowering energy consumption and stimulate the economy by creating jobs through innovative, voluntary solutions to support a sustainable building performance market. The program recently expanded its services to Ventura County and San Luis Obispo residents as emPower Central Coast.

emPower is funded by California utility ratepayers and administered by Southern California Gas Company, Southern California Edison Company and Pacific Gas & Electric under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission, the US Department of Energy Better Buildings program and the California Energy Commission with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars. emPower’s low cost financing is offered in partnership with Coast Hills Federal Credit Union and Ventura County Credit Union. More information at