It’s December, and Christmas will be here before you know it, which means it’s time to finish up your holiday shopping. But if you’re like me, you might still be struggling to find the perfect gift for that one family member who’s just plain impossible to shop for. When that’s the case, I often turn to a category of gifts that keep on giving: energy-efficient gadgets.
In the role of energy management supervisor, I get to spend a lot of time thinking about the value of conserving electricity. In fact, as a not-for-profit organization, Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative encourages our members to conserve—because when you save, the co-op saves, and those savings ultimately get passed on to co-op members.
So as you tackle your holiday shopping for those hard-to-please loved ones this month, consider some of these energy-saving gift ideas to help your friends and family save money year-round:
Smart TVs and streaming devices. If the person you’re shopping for doesn’t already have a smart TV with streaming apps on it, a streaming device like a Roku, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire Stick could be a great gift. Of course, streaming videos will consume energy no matter the technology you’re using, but newer LED TVs have improved energy efficiency, and eliminating another streaming device or gaming system can reduce energy consumption and phantom loads.
Smart speakers. Smart speakers like those from Amazon and Google are not only designed to be energy efficient but can also be used to monitor other smart devices in your home to optimize energy use. Paired with smart thermostats and other home automation, these technological assistants can help you conserve.
Solar-powered charging banks. Anyone with a cellphone knows that at some point, the battery is going to run low when they’re far from an outlet. A portable battery is a great solution to get that extra boost for your phone to make it through the day, and it doesn’t get more energy efficient than a charger that harnesses the power of the sun.
Smart thermostat. About half of the average American home’s annual energy bill goes to heating and cooling costs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. One way to curb those costs is by installing a smart thermostat, which can learn a household’s routine and adjust temperatures accordingly.
LED lightbulbs and lamps. Though lightbulbs might not make for the most exciting gifts, LED bulbs can be great stocking stuffers that’ll save energy and money over time. For a more compelling present, consider buying an LED lamp that your loved one can use to cozy up with a book this winter or voice-activated LED light strips that can change color.
Kitchen countertop appliances. Electric griddles, air fryers, waffle makers and slow cookers make for great energy-efficient gifts that can also reduce cooking times.
Here at TVEC, we believe our members should enjoy all the comforts that modern technology provides without paying an arm and a leg. So this holiday season, give your loved ones a gift that saves.