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How Much Energy Do Your Holiday Decorations Use?

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Putting on a good holiday display can cheer up your customers and employees. However, a large light display can increase your business's energy bill quickly.

According to Inside Energy, lighted decorations for the typical American home can cost an extra $60 each year. Larger workplaces and shopping complexes can end up paying much more, especially if using convenient pre-lit decorations. Outdoor decorations can also use up a lot of energy and animatronics - those moving reindeer - simply guzzle the stuff.

So, what can you do? Here are seven tips for saving money on decorations:

1. Turn them off when the last employee leaves: Leaving holiday decorations on overnight eats up electricity with nobody actually there to enjoy them. You can turn them off manually or, for additional convenience, set timers that automatically turn the lights on and off.

2. Use LED light strands: While LED lights are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they make up for it with significant energy savings throughout the years. The larger the lights, the greater the savings. Added benefit: LED lights produce almost no heat and thus are less likely to start a fire when used on a real tree. Resist the temptation to just add more lights or you could quickly ratchet your costs right back up.

3. Avoid inflatable outdoor decorations: It might be time to retire the giant snowman and moving reindeer. Inflatables use the most energy of any holiday decoration, followed closely by animatronics.

4. Use reflective ornaments and tinsel strategically: Sparkly adornments make a few lights go a long way. In some cases, you can even eliminate lights altogether. Reflective ornaments can also give a subtle sparkle that's less distracting than lights.

5. Get a fiber optic tree: If you like pre-lit trees, fiber-optic trees use only low energy LED bulbs. They can be expensive, but they will last far longer than your typical pre-lit tree and keep you from having to buy new bulbs each year. Fiber-optic decorations can light entire strings from a single bulb, so they use the least energy of any lit or powered decorations.

6. Light only what you need: If one side your tree is pushed against a wall, light only the front part of the tree.

7. Go old school: Consider putting up wreaths, garlands, wooden decorations and other items that are not inherently lit. Wooden decorations look particularly inviting for restaurants and eateries.

If all else fails, you can always go old school by putting up wreaths, garlands and wooden decorations with no lighting at all. If you simply can't go without a lighted holiday display, keep it simple, and use energy-efficient options whenever possible.

Make sure your business is ready for the cold months ahead. Take our quick assessment to see what you can do to help keep energy cost low this winter!

Posted: December 05, 2017