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Ways to 'go green' this holiday season

When finalizing holiday gift lists, people shouldn’t forget to add Mother Nature.

By making some easy adjustments to their normal holiday routine and searching for energy-efficient gifts, residents can do their part to help conserve precious natural resources all year ’round and put a little “green” back in their pockets.

“If you’re one of the many consumers taking advantage of the deep discounts available on many electronics and appliances this holiday season, keep in mind the long-term costs of powering your purchases,” says Hal Snyder, vice president of customer programs for SDG&E. “Take televisions, for example: the annual energy costs for a 53- to 62-inch rear-projection TV are approximately $65, while the equivalent plasma television will cost about $143.”

It’s no surprise that the larger the set, the more energy it uses. No matter what kind of TV or appliance one buys this holiday, a good rule of thumb is to make sure it has an Energy Star logo.

Products that have earned the Energy Star designation help prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the government and help save owners money each month.

There are plenty of other ways, both big and small, to go green.

For instance, buy LED holiday lights, which can save 90 percent or more in lighting costs when compared to traditional incandescent holiday lights. Another bonus: decreased potential fire hazard.

Buy a solar charger for cell phones, MP3 players and other gadgets.

Light up someone’s holiday by giving them a compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulb. They cost one-fourth as much to operate and last up to 10 times longer. Look for CFLs with the SDG&E “Promotional Price” sticker; these products are already discounted and are displayed with the special low price provided by the manufacturer, the retailer and SDG&E.

While shopping for holiday gifts, carry reusable bags.

Receivers of new cell phones should recycle their old ones. Each year, 130 million cell phones are thrown out, weighing approximately 65,000 tons. Also make sure to take computers, TV sets and other electronics to authorized e-cycling locations.

Buy wrapping paper and holiday cards made from recycled paper, or even better, one can get creative and make her own: old maps, the comics section of a newspaper or children’s artwork are festive and meaningful. If every family wrapped just three gifts this way, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.

Finally, make it a holiday tradition to plant a tree each year to offset one’s paper consumption.

For more “green” energy-saving tips to use throughout the year visit or call (800) 411-SDGE (7343).


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