Plug into that Christmas Feeling!
It’s that time of the year again, when the weather is getting cooler, days are shorter, and the family is planning to come and visit for the holidays. For many people it's the best (or worst) time of the year.
It's also the time you might use more electricity for lighting the Christmas tree or for heating, but these are just some of the benefits of having energy available the way we have it today. Energy is in all aspects of modern life. To give you an accurate perspective: globally, 500 million terajoules of energy are used every year. Holy smokes!
Who knew eating demands so much energy?
Cultivating and keeping the crops necessary to produce the ingredients for your holiday dinner takes about 21% of all energy involved for food production. That energy goes all into pesticides, fertilizers and the fuel used to harvest the plants. After being harvested, the crops need to be transformed into actual food, which uses 16% of all energy used in food production. Each ingredient for each recipe you make has likely traveled many kilometers to arrive at your table. Transport takes up to 14% of all energy used in food production. Tip: Keep the lids on the pots to cook food faster.
Amen to Fridges!
The average home in the UK uses 427 kWh/year to keep food cool enough, so that it is fresh for longer and free of bacteria. It’s hard to imagine how people in the past kept food from going bad, considering refrigeration has “only” existed for the past 150 years! The food would probably be half way bad by the time people sat down for dinner. The solution for this problem included ingenious ways to keep the food fresh: storing it in the coolest place in the house, curing meat with salt, and keeping just enough food for a couple of days. Sounds like an extra concern most people would not like to have during the holidays.
Most people will likely have to travel during Christmas to be with family and/or friends. Transportation alone uses around 25% of global energy. To cross the Atlantic ocean, a Boeing 737 needs one terajoule of energy, and that’s a lot!
Preparing food is such a daily activity that we often forget how essential energy is into making that simple task possible. It all comes together, when all gadgets work into making the perfect dish. Electricity covers 49.2% of cooking demand in Europe. Tips: Don’t open the oven! Heat is lost every time you open the door! Make sure to bake most dishes at the same time, it takes the same amount of energy to heat up an empty oven as it does a fuller one.
You knows the feeling? After fitting all that amazing deliciousness in your belly, it is time to wash up the mountains of dishes you likely have, but all you want to do is to put your feet up. Using a dishwasher uses about a third of the water needed to wash by hand! Besides being more energy-efficient, dishwashers also make it easy to just get that part of the night out of the way.
What would Christmas be without the shining lights on the tree - and everywhere else in the house, for that matter? If you decorate your home modestly, you could be using an average of 635 Watts with incandescent lights, but only 96 Watts with LED. LED lights use 80 – 90% less energy than incandescent, while lasting much longer: 100,000 hours compared to 30,000. That saves money that you could invest into more gifts for family and friends! Tip: Use timers to control how long the lights are on.
Hot Shower for the win
If you have visits at home during the holidays, chances are you are spending a lot more in warm water costs. An average of 26.3% of total electricity in Europe is used for heating space and water. What a treat to have a cozy and hot bath right before bed! Hmmm… Sweet dreams and happy holidays!