Comfort and joy: five energy saving holiday gift ideas

by Lara Bonn, Efficient Products Strategy and Planning Manager

The holidays are fast approaching and with them the stress of finding the right gift. Not sure what to buy the thrifty folks in your life? For the past few years we here at Efficiency Vermont have offered gift ideas that help save energy and money. Again this year, we have rounded up a few gift ideas that can save money and are sure to please.

  1. An eco-friendly shower head. Treat your family (and yourself) to a great shower and money savings! An efficient showerhead reduces the amount of water you use. Reducing water use also reduces the amount of energy needed to heat that water. Look for the WaterSense label. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), switching to a WaterSense labeled shower head can save the average family enough electricity each year to power a house for 13 days. Give the Evolve Roadrunner a try. This shower head monitors the water temperature and tells you when your shower is ready. You’ll save money and always step into a nice warm shower, all for under $40.
  2. A pressure cooker. Help the chef on your list save time and energy in the kitchen this year! Ovens need a lot of energy to warm up and stove-tops waste a lot of the heat they produce. A pressure cooker uses steam to cook ingredients at a higher pressure and in less time. For around $50 you can give the gift of time and delicious meals.
  3. A thermal imaging mobile camera accessory. This takes “there’s an app for that” to the next level for energy efficiency geeks. This gift is for the person looking for a handy way to see where heat is leaking out of their house. A tiny infrared (IR) camera attachment will show you a heat map of whatever is in its view. There are a few models on the market that can turn your mobile phone into a thermal imaging camera. Check out the Flir One or the Seek Compact, both are compatible with Android and iOS. The $250 price tag is not cheap, but a professional grade IR camera can cost thousands of dollars and won’t fit in your pocket.
  4. A Wi-Fi enabled smart thermostat. You may be familiar with the Nest learning thermostat. There are other smart thermostats on the market like the Lyric by Honeywell and the Ecobee3 from the Canadian company Ecobee. With more choices on the market, you can find a smart thermostat that meets your heating and cooling needs. If you’re shopping for a smart thermostat, there are consumer reviews and comparisons online, which can help find the right one for you. The price of these run between $250 and $300.
  5. A new energy efficient television or streaming device. TVs are a popular gift this time of year. If you want to stream videos and access applications like Netflix or Amazon Video on your TV choose an internet-ready model. Look for a model that has earned the ENERGY STAR® certification. Check the yellow EnergyGuide to get an estimate of energy costs for any model of TV. Just need the streaming device? Choose one that uses low amounts of power, such as Apple TV or a Roku. Be aware that game consoles like the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, can use much more energy to stream the same content.

Don’t forget the perfect stocking stuffers

LED bulbs are one of my favorite gifts, whether it is a stocking stuffer or a host/hostess gift. Make sure to look for ENERGY STAR.ENERGY STAR LED bulbs are just $4.99 at participating Vermont retailers.

Are you buying gifts that need batteries? Pick up some rechargeable batteries and an ENERGY STAR battery charger. You’ll be giving a gift that saves money and keeps single-use batteries out of landfills.

So, we’ve made our list, have you? Tell us your best ideas for energy saving gifts to give (and get) this holiday season. Use the comments section below.

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