Six weeks till Christmas – which means time to think about cool energy efficiency gifts for your loved ones.
Last year, if you had stuffed family’s stockings with the latest LED light bulbs, you would have been one very hip uncle or aunt. But at $50 each, they would have been better gifts under the tree than in a stocking. And if you had tried to save money by picking up less expensive, lower output, non-dimmable “cool” 5000K LED bulbs, your family members would have been underwhelmed. “Honey? It kinda has that hospital feel….can you take it out?”
Now, one LED year later, the replacement for a 60 watt incandescent is ready for primetime.
This year at $15 per bulb you can stuff stockings with my personal favorite – a high quality Philips lamp – and not break the bank. This lamp produces fully dimmable 2700K “warm” light with the only downside being it’s Hannibal Lecter-like design, which means you should keep it hidden under a lamp shade. Once family members are hooked they’ll simply buy more on their next trip to Home Depot. Or maybe while shopping for a new LED TV they’ll pick up this bulb recently introduced by BestBuy.
If you’re a gotta-have-the-latest technology enthusiast you could upgrade to the newest 100 watt equivalent LED bulbs like this one from Osram which like last year is $50, but now with higher output. For a more funky gift you could consider the Brookstone-like iPhone controllable LED bulbs from Philips (at your local Apple store), GreenWaveReality or Insteon.
For under the tree, you can splurge on the new, Internet accessible iPhonesque thermostat from Nest. Control your home heating and air conditioning, all from your iPad, and save money managing the largest energy consuming system in your home. For $250 on Amazon you can have it gift-wrapped and shipped directly to your favorite aunt, uncle (or yourself.) Having shipped 300,000+ units in their first year of production, Nest’s customer service folks have turned supporting the weekend DIY installation into a science. Email them a photo of your old wiring, use the color coded labels provided, add your home’s wireless network access code and away you go.
But it may be worth waiting until after the holidays to start your own install. After the presents are opened Nest’s call center elves will likely be swamped. If something goes wrong you’ll save money without any heat or AC, but try explaining that to a house full of holiday visitors.