Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. When we light the menorah, it is a celebration and a reminder that just one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days (and the victory of the Jews of course). This tiny bit of energy went such a long way. I like to think about this each year and remember that we can and should try to use the smallest amount of energy and resources to get the greatest gain from them.
If you are lighting a menorah this year, maybe think about moving toward choices that will allow our limited sources of energy to last for as long as they are needed, and with minimal impact on our planet. Here are some great ways to promote this state of mind:
Wind-Powered Electricity! Call your power company and ask to switch to wind-powered electricity or do it yourself on Arcadia.com. 100% wind-power reduces CO2 emissions, the same as not driving 20,000 miles in one year. Call your Synagogue, Hillel, or JCC and ask them to switch to wind-power as well.
Use LED lightbulbs! LED bulbs use 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs.
Unplug electronics that aren’t in use! Even when not being used and idle, they can still pull small amounts of energy. Think devices like televisions, microwaves, scanners, and printers. In the U.S., the total electricity consumed by idle electronics equals the annual output of 12 power plants! I’m a fan of power strips for this reason. You can turn off all devices at once by flipping the switch on your power strip (without having to unplug each socket).
Set the thermostat between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. According to Energy Hub, you can save up to five percent in heating costs for every degree you lower your thermostat between 60-70 degrees. Throw on some cozy warm clothes! Also, if you have a drafty door, consider purchasing a door draft guard.
Raise your refrigerator temperature! You can save up to 10% on energy usage by raising the temp of your fridge to 36-38 degrees Fahrenheit for the fresh food compartment, and 0-5 degrees for the freezer.
If you can, choose one or more days during Hanukkah not to drive at all, and lessen driving as much as you can during this time. And of course, see if you can add this sort of thing to your life more often. Could be a nice time to take a walk or ride a bike (depending on where you are and how cold it is)!!
Urge your bosses, (or maybe you are the boss) to arrange an energy audit. Your utility company can tell you how to get one for free or at a low-cost.
Turn off your computer! Computers consume lots of energy in office buildings. Also, if you’re using a screensaver, ditch it and opt-in for energy save/sleep mode instead.
A reminder that all plastic is created from oil! Ditch single-use disposable plastic items and go reusable.
Be mindful of how your clothing is made. Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester are petrochemical aka oil-based fibers.
And for fun, here are some crazy eco menorahs 🙂
An Electric Menorah (which yes, uses electricity, but doesn’t use paraben candles or other not so great candles)
And this might be a little nerdy, but I had to include it here… some eco-friendly dreidels.
Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays!