The holidays are just around the corner, and finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list can be tough. These days, smart-home and eco-friendly gifts aren’t just for technology junkies. As we continue to learn about the positive impact of energy savings on our planet, more people are excited to be gifted products that are both fun and energy efficient.
From automation solutions and remote sensors to classic gifts that’ll help your family and friends cut their energy bills, here’s a list of some fantastic gifts for everyone on your list. They’re not just trendy, but they also have a minimal impact on the planet.
5 Energy-Saving Holiday Gift Ideas
Before we jump into the smart technology gifts, let’s take a look at some tremendous energy-saving gift ideas.
- High-Efficiency Lights
Looking for some last-minute gifts or extra trinkets to fill those stockings? High-efficiency light bulbs used to cost an arm and a leg, but now, they’ve become much more affordable. What’s even better is that they use up to 75 percent less energy than regular incandescent bulbs. If you want to give more than a light bulb, there are great small light-themed gifts that’ll fit perfectly in a stocking. LED reading lamps and flashlights are two great options.
- Solar-Powered Gadgets
Solar-powered gifts have taken the market by storm in recent years. It seems like you can find just about everything in an energy-saving, solar-powered option these days. Find a wide variety of solar-powered gifts online, like battery chargers, backpacks, keyboards, and wireless speakers. You can even bring the kids in on these gifts and use solar-powered toys as a great way to teach them about renewable energy.
- Pressure Cookers
For the cook in the family, pressure cooker pots are a great gift. Not only will your gift recipient be able to prepare everything from rice to soup and beyond, but they’ll also use up to 70 percent less energy when they cook. An added perk of gifting a pressure cooker is that they seal in hot air, which means that your food will be ready faster.
- Home Electricity Monitor
If you’ve got someone in the family who is focused on saving energy, a home electricity monitor is a great gift option. These awesome gadgets give real-time feedback that tells you exactly how much energy you’re using in your home and where it’s coming from. There’s a variety of options to choose from, so do your research before you pick.
- Eco Buttons
If you haven’t heard of these cool little gadgets, you’re going to want one for yourself as well. Eco buttons are mostly sold from the U.K. and retail for around $25 but will save you big time on energy. They hook into your computer through a USB cable and allow you to put your computer in energy-saving mode with the simple press of a button. Since computers use a great deal of energy, this is a great way to cut back on energy consumption in your home or business.
10 Smart Home Holiday Gift Ideas
Believe it or not, smart home gifts aren’t just for techies anymore. They’re as popular as ever and an excellent gift for family and friends who love security, convenience, and entertainment-focused gifts. Here’s a list of 10 awesome ideas that’ll save you energy while cutting back on the energy you consume in your house or business.
- Smart Home Hubs
Smart hubs are the heart of home automation. They connect IoT devices into a single device that can be controlled with an app on your phone or device. They’re necessary for several other smart gadgets, so they are a great place to start if your family or friends are new to smart homes. With some smart hubs, you can connect hundreds of devices to one source to save energy.
- Smart Lights
Smart lights connect to smart hubs to give you a remote-controlled, programmable option for the lights in your home or office. They can be programmed to turn on or off at certain times, which saves energy. They can also analyze your usage patterns to help you optimize your energy use.
- Smart Kitchen Gadgets
For the chef or cooking enthusiast on your list, smart kitchen gadgets are the best thing since sliced bread. They can be turned on and off remotely. Smart kitchen gadgets include slow cookers, coffee makers, and gadgets that connect to major appliances to monitor and optimize energy use.
- Smart Pet Technology
If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for your furry friend, there are some cool tech gifts for pets available. Smart pet technology gifts include automatic treat dispensers, feeders, and water dispensers. You can even find self-cleaning litter boxes to keep your home smelling fresh and smart collars and monitors that keep tabs on your animals.
- Robot Vacuums
If you’ve got an extra busy gift recipient on your list, this is the perfect present. Robot vacuums take the place of a major household chore that most people don’t like doing. They navigate around furniture, get in hard-to-reach areas, and keep your house looking and feeling clean. Since they eliminate dust that can be a problem for air appliances and HVAC filters, they’ll help make your home more efficient as well.
- Smart Assistants
By now, you’ve probably heard of smart assistants like Amazon Echo, Google Home, or any other voice-directed smart devices. They connect to the internet and a variety of systems. You can ask questions, shop, communicate with others, and control other devices in your home or office. From playing music to adjusting the lights, they’re not just entertaining, but they are also a great way to conserve energy.
- Smart Plugs
These may be new to the market, but they’re blowing up everyone’s holiday list. They can turn anything plugged into your home’s or business’ electrical sockets into a smart device. Even grandma’s old lamp or mom’s ancient AM/FM radio can be controlled by your voice assistants or smart hubs when you have smart plugs.
- Smart Thermostats
If you don’t have anyone on your list to buy these for, you can always gift one to yourself. Smart thermostats have the amazing ability to save big time on your energy use. They keep your home or office comfortable while lowering your energy consumption for heating and cooling. You can program them to turn down the temperature while you’re out and kick it up when you’re on your way home.
- Smart TVs
They’re not just the latest technology craze taking over homes and offices everywhere, but they’re also a great way to cut back on your energy use. Smart TVs are internet enabled with built-in storage. They make it easy to stream your favorite show, run apps, and play your favorite video game. They use a significantly lower amount of energy than old-fashioned televisions, so it’s a win-win.
Finding unique gifts for everyone on your list can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve created this resourceful guide to help you find ideas that aren’t just fun but also complement your eco-friendly lifestyle. For more tips and resources on energy consumption, check out Stream Energy’s latest articles. Happy Holidays!
Stream Energy Shares the Biggest Energy Costs in Your Home
Saving money on energy bills is important, but what are the most effective ways to cut the cost of your energy bill? According to Stream Energy, understanding where your biggest costs are is a critical step in lowering your bill. So let’s take a look at what’s costing you the most in energy and some measures that you can take to reduce these expenses.
Air Conditioning and Heating
For most people, the single biggest energy zapper is their HVAC system. Stream Energy reports that this can be as much as 46 percent of your electricity bill. The average unit can run as much as 15 minutes for 3 times every hour in a 24-hour period, using up to 1950 kWh in a month’s time.
To lower your HVAC use and reduce your energy bills, you can take some steps to keep your unit from kicking into overdrive. For example, close curtains and run your ceiling fans. Get a smart thermometer and program it to a warmer temperature while you are at work during the summer or a cooler temperature while you are away in the winter. And remember to change your air filters on a regular basis, which can also make a big difference.
To get your bill even lower, try covering up with more blankets or dress warmly inside your home during the winter months, and wear light clothing in summer. This will keep you comfortable even if you’ve decided to turn the thermostat up (or down).
The next biggest energy cost for most people is heating water. In fact, about 14 percent of your energy costs go to this. Think about it: you take hot showers, wash dishes in hot water, and maybe even wash clothes with warm or hot water. But all of this hot water can add another 405 kWh of energy to your bill. Odds are good that you don’t want to wash dishes in cold water or take a cold shower. So, what can you do to reduce this cost?
Set your water heater’s temperature to 120F or even lower (if you can tolerate it). You can also use faucet aerators and showerheads that conserve water to help you reduce your electricity costs in this area. And if your water heater is old, try wrapping it with an insulation jacket to help conserve energy.
Close behind water heating is the cost to run your appliances. These consume about 13 percent of your energy costs. There’s your washer and dryer, refrigerator, and dishwasher – all of which are necessities. But there is a way to lower your energy bill by reducing how much you use these appliances.
Take the washer and dryer, for example. These two appliances consume about 91 kWh of energy per month. But you can lower this number by taking a few simple steps like only washing full loads and cleaning out the dryer filter between each load. But keep in mind, when you dry clothes, do a full load, but don’t overload your dryer. This will cause it to work harder and use more energy.
Like the washer and dryer, running your dishwasher only when its full could help you reduce your energy use. And during summer months, try using it during the coolest times of the day, since it puts off heat. This will also help keep your air conditioner from working harder than it needs to.
For your refrigerator, Stream Energy recommends keeping this appliance set at the manufacturer’s recommended temperature setting. Maintaining its airflow is also important to keep it running efficiently. You can do this by cleaning routinely behind and under your fridge.
Speaking of cleaning, keeping your refrigerator organized can also help lower energy costs. Keep the products that you use the most in easy-to-reach locations. This reduces the amount of time that your fridge is left open, which can help lower your energy use.
Have you ever wondered if leaving the lights on really does impact your energy bill? While it doesn’t cost nearly as much as running your air conditioner, the answer is still yes. Lighting takes up about nine percent (six kWh per month) of your energy costs on average. Making a few easy changes can make a difference. And even a small difference adds up over time.
So remember to turn your lights off when you leave a room, and switch out those old light bulbs for newer, energy-efficient LED bulbs. If you leave porch and floodlights on at night, installing motion detectors could also help lower your energy use.
Last but not least on the list is electronics. Things like televisions and video game consoles can take up about four percent of your energy costs. And these can go even higher during summer months and holidays when kids are home or family and friends are gathered in your home. One of the easiest ways to lower this cost is to look for ENERGY STAR certified electronics when it’s time to switch them out. Turning down the brightness levels can also help.
Stream Energy Has Plans to Suit Your Budget and Lifestyle
In addition to making adjustments on your energy use, it may be time to reevaluate your energy provider. Do you regularly check your bill to ensure that you are getting a competitive rate? Or have you been with the same company for years?
In this deregulated market, consumers can choose from many different companies and plans to find one that best suits their needs. Stream Energy offers a variety of plans, including fixed-rate plans for peace of mind and a green plan that uses 100 percent renewable energy for eco-conscious consumers. Established in 2005 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Stream Energy offers competitive rates for both gas and electricity. Customers in Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., Illinois, Delaware, and Ohio can take advantage of these plans. To learn more about Stream Energy and its services, visit the company online today.