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4 Green Tips for Your Holiday Travels

John Platt, December 23, 2010

If you're going to spend any time away from home during the holidays this year (and let's face it, most of us are), there are several ways you can make it a greener experience while hoping for a white Christmas.

1) Give your car a once-over. Properly inflated tires really do improve your car's gas mileage. Clean gaskets in your car doors prevent heat loss. A blanket in the back seat keeps passengers warmer without relying too much on the heater. And a GPS system can help you find the most gas-efficient route while traveling over the river to Grandma's house.

2) Unplug your TV, computer, gaming platforms and other electronics before you go. Even though these devices will be "off" while you're gone, they'll still be using tiny amounts of power. (There's a reason they call these devices energy vampires.) Save that wattage by unplugging them or turning their surge protectors off.

3) Adjust your thermostat. If you're going to be gone for several days, there's no need for your furnace to keep running at 68 degrees all day long. Lower the temp to 55 degrees and hold it there. You can also raise your refrigerator temperature by a degree or two, since no one will be home to keep opening the door and letting all of that cold air out (but really, just a degree or two, you don't want to give bacteria a chance to get a foothold).

4) Put your lights on timers. It's tempting to keep your lights and maybe a radio on all day long while you're gone so your house doesn't look unoccupied, but that's a lot of energy use to exchange for some possible household safety. So buy a few cheap timers, some of which can be set to turn your lights to go on and off at random times. These are great for the Christmas tree, too, so it can be lit up while you're away.

Put together, these four tips could save you some serious cash this holiday season, and that's something we all could use. Sure, it might take an hour or two for your house to warm up when you come home, but that's a small price to pay for the long-term savings.

Tags: Christmas, Efficiency, Energy, Holidays, Travel

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