There are few feelings better than those that accompany the holiday season. Spirits are brighter, loved ones are spending more quality time together and beautiful decorations are at every turn. Though the temperatures may be frigid, the hearts and minds of many are anything but.

One of the best parts of the holidays is the opportunity to give. Americans get into the gift-giving mode, searching high and low for the best trinkets and buys for family and friends around this time every year. While items like clothing, housewares and cool gadgets top the list of items to buy, there are other valuable options loved ones are sure to benefit from – gifts that promote energy efficiency in the home. Not only will these options help them save on monthly energy costs, but they can also lower their carbon footprint.

Go outside the norm and consider one of these items for this year’s shopping:

  • Gift the foodie in your life with a pressure cooker. These pots have become all the rage for their ability to drastically cut cooking time, but they also use up to 70 percent less energy than the average pot or pan.
  • ENERGY STAR®-certified products are always an excellent choice for those who enjoy top appliances and electronics while reducing their electricity use (sometimes by up to 60 percent!)
  • There’s nothing like a practical gift that can be used every day as a stocking stuffer. Items like energy efficient showerheads, LEDs bulbs and power strips may seem oversimplified but can translate to significant savings in the long-term.
  • As we all know, Michigan winters can get pretty cold. Gift your loved one with items that will help them winterize their home, such as caulk and weather-stripping to seal air leaks or a new furnace filter to ensure their system runs efficiently.
  • Smart lighting kits are a great way to add fun and character to the home. Not only do these LED systems consume less energy than their incandescent counterpart, but they make lighting your home fun and simple with the tap of your smartphone.
  • Consider gifting a programmable thermostat that can regulate a home’s temps whether your loved one is home or away while helping them to save on heating costs.

Happy shopping, and more importantly, happy holidays!