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Holiday Gifts for Energy Efficiency

December 18, 2013 - 3:58pm


Energy-efficient light bulbs can make great energy-saving stocking stuffers.

Energy-efficient light bulbs can make great energy-saving stocking stuffers.

As the days get colder and shopping becomes a holiday pastime, it’s a great opportunity to think about efficiency and savings (and that doesn't just mean rationing wrapping paper). With that in mind, I’ve drawn up a list of energy-efficient holiday gifts for your energy-conscious loved ones. With these gifts, your carbon footprint and home electric bill could dip along with the temperature.

Portable Battery or Fuel Cell Phone Charger

For the gadget-carrying loved one, a portable charger is one of the greatest gifts you could ask for. These battery-powered devices can be used to recharge smartphones, GPS devices, and even music players several times over while on the go. Thankfully, rechargeable batteries can be used, which is much better for the environment.

Some of the newest portable charging devices also run on hydrogen using miniature fuel cells. These nifty devices use special cartridges that react with the air or H20, right from your own water bottle, to produce electric current. Prices are a bit steeper than a battery-assisted charger, but the hydrogen fuel aspect is a definite novelty to consider for 2014.

For recommendations to save as much as 30% energy on charging devices, consider ENERGY STAR®‘s list of certified products, including rechargeable batteries (such as the AA kind) and chargers.


There’s nothing comfier than a micro fleece blanket on a cold winter morning. It’s also one of the easiest and most inexpensive gifts you can buy for your family, allowing you to turn down that expensive furnace and still keep the family in high spirits. Is this cruel and unusual punishment or energy efficiency genius? Let your cozy family and energy bill decide.

LEDs and CFL Bulbs

Just in case you haven’t noticed, hardware stores are now selling standard A19 CFL and LED bulbs for under $10. In addition, they come in almost any color you can fathom. And unlike CFLS and traditional incandescent light bulbs, some LED bulbs last so long that they could literally light your current toddler’s lamp through high school. Upgrading 15 of the inefficient incandescent light bulbs in your home could save you about $50 per year. CFL and LED light bulbs save 75%-80% more energy than incandescent.

Energy-Efficient Power strips

Your entertainment system and holiday tree might be doing more than just lighting up the room at night. Even when turned off, many electronics can still run up your electric bill, sipping electricity when idle. Maybe it’s not the most exciting gift, but a simple fix to keep energy vampires at bay is a power strip with auto shut-off technology. If the one you buy lacks this feature, making a habit of flicking the off switch can still save approximately $100 a year, according to ENERGY STAR. This idle electricity use accounts for roughly 8% of household electricity costs.