This Valentine’s Day, it’s understandable if energy efficiency isn’t necessarily the first thing on your mind – but still, it’s good to know your romantic date night doesn’t have to use a lot of energy and water. Create a magical evening for your Valentine that’s also more efficient with the ideas listed below.
Choose an Energy-Efficient Dinner
If you go out to eat, look for restaurants that make energy efficiency a priority. The Green Restaurant Association rates restaurants based on environmental criteria including water, energy, and sustainability. If you plan to cook, consider these tips:
- Use a slow cooker when possible, which save times and uses less energy than the stovetop or oven.
- Use the right size pan for the amount of food you’re cooking to avoid wasting energy.
- In the oven, use a glass or ceramic pan and reduce the cooking temperature by 25 degrees. And, no peeking! Opening the oven door wastes energy.
- Good news – the dishwasher uses less water than hand-washing dishes, so you’ll have more time to spend with your partner and less time having to clean up.
Turn Off Electronics
Focus on your date by turning off your phone and TV. Not only will it save energy, it will be easier to connect without those distractions. Plan ahead and invest in a power strip to make it easier to unplug and completely turn off your devices – and to look smooth on date night with one flick of a switch.
Use Fewer Lights or Break Out the Candles
Set the mood and create a romantic setting by lowering the lights with a light dimmer, or limit the amount of lights you keep on. If you like using candles, avoid those made with paraffin wax. Paraffin is a petroleum product that’s a non-renewable source. Opting for soy candles ensures you’re relying on a natural, renewable source that burns with less soot.
Snuggle Under a Blanket
If you need an excuse to get close under the covers, turn down the thermostat and stay warm by cuddling under a comfy blanket. Using your smart thermostat to lower the temperature can help reduce your energy bill and is easy to do right from your own smartphone.
Give a Valentine Made with Recycled Paper
If you’re going to give a paper valentine, choose one made with recycled paper. Recycled paper products use significantly less water and energy than their non-recycled counterparts. Learn more about how much water and energy is saved by recycling.
Go for a Walk or Bike Ride
Get outside and enjoy each other’s company without using any gas in your car. Try a low-key stroll around your neighborhood or city after dinner. You could also take a bike ride to a local trail or another scenic spot nearby.
Enjoy a Dessert with a Low Water Footprint
Find chocolate with a lower water footprint by looking for Rain Forest Alliance Certified products. Rain Forest Alliance certifies products to meet a range of environmental and social standards, including sustainable farming practices that help conserve water.
Or skip the chocolate and try a different treat with a lower water footprint. A glass of wine actually uses less than 10% of the water used to make a chocolate bar.
Make Your Fireplace More Efficient
If you have a fireplace, make it more efficient by installing a heat-air exchange system or an energy efficiency fireplace insert. Be sure to close the damper when there is no fire burning to keep heat from escaping. Learn more about ways to optimize your fireplace’s energy efficiency.
Give an Energy-Efficient Appliance
Thinking about housework might not seem very romantic, but if an outdated appliance has been a source of stress for you and your significant other, they will appreciate a gift that makes their life easier. Using an ENERGY STAR® rated appliance will also help you save on your utility bills and now is the perfect time to look for new appliances as Presidents’ Day sales are approaching.
If you can implement just a few of these ideas you’ll surely be able to impress your significant other and create a memorable night without too much stress. Showing your love for the environment and potentially lowering your utility bill will score you major points and can lighten the load on your pocket.