As climate pollution continues, one of our global citizens is really feeling the heat.  Rudolph the Reindeer’s red nose should be a beacon for us all to follow toward a cleaner energy future. You can do several simple things this holiday season to protect the air we breathe and the stable climate we rely on year round.

Decorate with LED  Lights

Colorful lights really brighten up our cold winter nights. But at ICL, we often encourage everyone to conserve energy and save money. So why did Captain Kilowatt string lights outside his house?

We are in the midst of a lighting revolution. The old incandescent bulb, first commercialized by Thomas Edison, turned about 10% of energy into useful light, with 90% being wasted as heat. Today’s modern LEDs, or light emitting diodes, use 80% less energy for the same light and last 25 times longer.

Captain Kilowatt bought a 75-foot string of colorful LEDs to brighten up his neighborhood. Because these lights just sip a tiny amount of power, you shouldn’t feel too bad about the minuscule amount of extra energy. Choose your lights carefully and let the cheerful colors brighten up the cold, dark nights.

Offset Your Extra Lights with Simple Steps at Home

Holiday season can sometimes cause a big spike in energy use. We cook larger meals for our families and spend more time at home with the heat on. Unless we plan carefully, all the extra cooking and people can overheat your house-and our planet.

Little things do add up: heating accounts for about 40% of all the energy you consume in the winter, with cooking, using our refrigerators, heating water, and dishwashing accounting for another 15%.  Doing your part to protect our air and climate is easy with these simple tips:

  • Turn your thermostat down a couple of degrees to compensate for the extra heat from cooking and guests.
  • Match the size of your cooking pot to the stove burner so you don’t waste fuel.
  • Bake your goodies in glass or ceramic dishes. This allows you to turn down the oven temperature a bit since these materials hold heat better than metal.
  • Keep the oven door closed. Each time you check the potatoes, the temperature drops by 25 degrees.
  • Put holiday lights on a timer so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn them off.
  • Plan your shopping trips to reduce car exhaust, the largest source of climate pollution in Idaho.

Think Global, Act Local

Our changing climate can seem overwhelming, making these simple actions seem meaningless. Nothing is further from the truth. Every time you flip a light switch, adjust your thermostat or start your car, you are voting about climate protection.

Now of course we all have lives to live. The small steps above are ways to meaningfully reduce your share of climate pollution. And if we all take a small action at home, we collectively have a big effect on protecting our climate.

So this holiday season, take some simple steps at home to do your part for our climate. At ICL, we are complementing your actions by changing Idaho policy and practice to reward energy conservation and clean energy. Together we can ensure that Idaho remains a great place to live-and that Rudolph’s home doesn’t melt.