By Nina Wu
It's been a sunny holiday season in Honolulu, so rejoice if you have solar panels. If you don't, then put it on your New Year's resolution list because it's not too late — many solar contractors are offering informational sessions to help you navigate the new rules for solar PV installation.
Federal and state tax credits are still available, so there's no reason to delay.
Meanwhile, here are some holiday energy-saving tips from Hawaii Energy.
CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS
Use ENERGY STAR LED light strings, which use about 70 to 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent strings. (I was surprised to see some ads for incandescent holiday lights out there). Even if they are on sale, consider the energy savings you will reap from LED lights — which can also be found at a good price. I bet they're on sale now that Christmas is over.
Limit the Time of Outdoor Lights
Use a timer to automatically turn off indoor or outdoor Christmas lighting displays.
COOKING IN THE OVEN
Keep Oven Doors Closed
Ovens lose about 25 degrees requiring additional energy to bring the temperature back up. Use the smallest pan and burner needed for the job. Cook with lids on your pans (cooking pasta without a lid can use three times as much energy).
FRIDGE & FREEZER
Keep the refrigerator door closed, too. Refrigerators get a real workout during the holidays and remains the second largest energy consumer in your home. Keep the doors closed as much as possible and try not to cram too much food at once (tough when you have a turkey in there).
Only wash full loads, use cold water (which requires less energy) and air dry as much as possible.