The gifts that keep on giving every year
by Susan Gilbert, Contributing Writer
The holidays are upon us. You may be wondering what the perfect gift for friends and family this year might be, with energy prices increasing so much. Here are some ideas for your shopping list that can bring value beyond the gift itself—because these actually cut costs and save energy. The best way to combat higher energy prices is to use safe and easy conservation techniques.
A Comfy Sweater. In the winter, keeping the thermostat at 68 degrees or lower is one of the most impactful changes you can make in reducing energy bills. A single degree saves real money. But nobody wants to be uncomfortably cold in their home. So, dressing warmly helps.Wearing a comfortable sweater or sweatshirt lets people feel warm in lower thermostat settings.
Matching Wool Socks. If you are picking up a sweater, pick up some matching, insulating socks.Warm feet help people feel warmer at lower temperatures. In fact, most people feel they are colder in their homes because they are not wearing shoes or socks.
Thermal Slippers. Heat is retained when there is an insulating layer of trapped air around you, and warm feet help keep you comfortable in the cold winter months. Thermal slippers are often made of quilted material specially designed to be insulating. Look for ones with durable soles for walking outside to get the morning paper.
Electric Blankets or Mattress Pads. A warm blanket makes a nice gift, or upgrade to an electric blanket or mattress pad that keeps the bed toasty so the room temperature can be lowered overnight. On a cold night, climbing into a warm bed is a good feeling your gift recipient can relish while remembering your thoughtfulness and saving on energy bills.
While these may not likely be what you were thinking of for gifts this year, they may spark an idea that you had not considered. Should you gift one of these items, be sure to remind your loved one of the added benefits these gifts bring, because in most cases achieving the savings requires taking some action, like lowering the thermostat setting or cutting the cable.Happy shopping and saving!
Susan Gilbert is CEO of Apogee Interactive Inc., which works with many Virginia and Maryland electric cooperatives on energy analysis and member satisfaction.