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Gift ideas that save energy (and do a world of good)

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(BPT) - When checking your holiday list, you’re searching for gifts that inspire joy and delight, and electronic items often fit that description. But what if that gift also happens to have a positive impact on your loved one’s life and the world at large? With all that has happened in the last couple of years, many of us have a greater appreciation for the things that protect the health of the planet for everyone.

Whether you’re shopping for a shiny new appliance or gadgets to make someone's life easier, here's how your gift can do a world of good: look for products that have earned the ENERGY STAR label. These are independently certified to use less energy than standard products, which not only saves money on energy costs, but it also makes a difference for the climate.

To inspire you, here are a few holiday shopping list ideas:

Cool savings on the hottest electronic devices: Did you know the average household owns 24 consumer electronics products? The more you invest in items designed to save energy, the more the savings will rack up. That has become even more important these days as families continue to use multiple electronics for work and school. For catching up on favorite shows, tablets use four times less energy than streaming to a laptop and 15 times less than a desktop computer. An energy-efficient sound bar offers a sleek solution to achieving that rich stereo effect, but uses 70% less energy than a conventional model.

A smarter solution to save heating costs: Families are still spending more time at home and energy bills have skyrocketed. Smart thermostats take the guesswork out of maximizing energy efficiency, and choosing an ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat means savings you can trust. Plus, they make great gifts. Were everyone to make the switch, we’d save 56 trillion BTUs of energy and $740 million a year, offsetting 13 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Appliances with noticeable cost savings: Even when the purchase price is nice, don’t overlook this hidden cost of owning appliances: the cost of operating the product. So, if you’re eyeing a new washer/dryer set as the perfect holiday gift, make sure it’s energy efficient. You’ll feel good helping your loved one realize more than 20% savings on their electric bill while using one-third less water compared to the standard models.

A bright idea for stocking stuffers: Here’s a small gift that can light up their lives and save some serious bucks. Just one energy-efficient, LED light bulb can save more than $50 in electricity costs over its lifetime. If each American home replaced just a single bulb with one that earned the ENERGY STAR certification, we’d prevent more than 7 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

A charger to go with that new electric car: And if big gifts are part of your holiday plan, remember to check out electric vehicles (EVs) and an ENERGY STAR certified charger. EVs are the future of driving and you (or your loved one) can save an average of $800 to $1,000 a year on fuel and an average of $4,600 on maintenance over the lifetime of the vehicle. An ENERGY STAR certified charger completes the gift and uses 40% less energy in standby mode than the standard. Be sure to check for federal tax credits and utility rebates to sweeten the deal.

Still looking for a great gift that is both innovative and energy efficient? Check out energystar.gov/holiday for everything you need to help your loved ones save money and protect the climate all year long.