Electricity usage in Alberta is highest during the winter months when daylight hours are short, temperatures are low, and we bring cheer to long December evenings with festive displays of lights. Reduce your electricity cost and save energy with these tips:

Lighting: While many Albertans have made the switch to LED lights, one place you still might have some incandescent bulbs is in your stash of holiday lights. LEDs use 90% less electricity than their incandescent cousins, and last much longer, making them an economic choice even if the purchase price is slightly higher. As a bonus, you get lights that are cool to the touch, making them safer around children and pets.

Manage the hours that your lights are on by using a timer, or by purchasing lights with built-in photocells. If you choose a timer, check the manufacturer’s specifications for the wattage it can handle, and if you plan to use it outdoors, be sure that it is rated for that use.

Cooking and baking: The key to using your kitchen range efficiently is planning. If you are baking several items, try to prepare your batches so that one goes into the oven soon after another comes out. The oven will only have to pre-heat once. Resist the temptation to open the oven door to peek; instead keep an eye on your baking through the oven window. You will save energy by keeping heat in the oven. Use the microwave or slow cooker whenever suitable and save the oven for big jobs like the turkey.

On the stovetop, match the size of your pan to the size of the burner. Heat outside the diameter of the pot is lost to the surrounding air. Be sure to “keep a lid on it” as your food will cook in less time.

Keep the cold in: Your refrigerator and freezer get a real workout over the holidays. Help them operate efficiently and economically by keeping the doors closed as much as possible so the cold air doesn’t escape. However, leaving the door open for a longer period of time while you take out several items is more efficient than opening and closing with each item.