Save some money during Christmastide and this winter, and give some satisfaction to the environmentalists in your life. And give the heating and electrical equipment at home a break too. Here are some energy-saving tips:
* Turn it off: Remember to turn off computers, monitors, fax machines, copiers and other energy consuming equipment when leaving for for the holiday break.
* Clean it out: If you have an extra refrigerator, for example, one that you keep in your garage (or in some places, on the front porch) for keeping beer and champagne cold, take this opportunity to clean it out and turn it off.
* Don't just stand by: It's not really off unless it is unplugged. Electronic devices draw energy all the time, called stand-by energy, to be prepared for the moment they are turned on. Unplug items or turn off the surge protector when you are gone for extended periods of time. So, if there is a little light flashing on your computer or TV, you will know that it is still drawing juice. Shut it down and give it a break. If you are Canadian, pull on a toque. If you are a proud Michigander, or any American of the northern climes. put on your Stormy Kromer.
* Can't remember? Get Smart: If you can't remember to turn off the lights, consider using a motion sensing device that will automatically turn this off when people are not in the room. This will reduce energy waste.
* Put on a sweater and dial down: There is no need to set your thermostat higher than 70 degrees. Compensate for temperature by dressing for personal comfort. A light long sleeved sweater will generally add 2 degrees of warmth, while a heavy sweater adds 4 degrees.
* Seal your windows: make sure that your windows and doors shut tightly and keep out drafts. Your pocketbook will thank you.