Thursday, November 29, 2012

PG&E Tips for a Safer, More Energy Efficient Holiday Season

BOMA San Francisco Members:

As you decorate your building for the holiday season, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reminds business customers that, along with good cheer, holiday lights can bring hazards and added costs to energy bills. For a safe and cost-efficient holiday season, PG&E offers the following lighting tips:
  • Before stringing outdoor lights, check for overhead power lines. Don’t place yourself or any object in a position where you or it may come in contact with a power line – the result can be fatal. Remember to look up before raising ladders or other objects and keep at least 10 feet away from overhead lines. 
  • Consider replacing older strings of incandescent holiday lights with more energy-efficient light emitting diodes or LEDs. LED lights are shatterproof, shock resistant, and produce almost no heat, making them safe to touch and greatly reducing the risk of fire. LEDs can also reduce decorative lighting energy costs up to 90 percent compared to older incandescent lights. 
  • Make sure lights used to decorate the outside of a  business are approved for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights outdoors. 
  • If stringing lights on outdoor trees, make sure tree limbs haven't grown into or near power lines. Branches or entire trees can become energized if they contact a power line. 
  • Check all light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation, or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires. Discard damaged sets of lights. 
  • Route cords inside your business so they won't trip anyone. Don't place them under rugs, furniture, or appliances. If covered, cords can overheat or become frayed and can cause a fire. 
  • Follow the manufacturer's limits for number of strings that can safely be connected together.
  • Always turn off indoor and outdoor decorative lights when closing the business, leaving the house or going to bed. 
For businesses that plan to close for two or more days during the holiday season, PG&E also offers the following energy-saving tips to save money while away: 
  • Set thermostats to turn the heat off 60 minutes before closing.
  • Close curtains, shades and blinds when your business is closed to help your building retain heat.
  • Turn off all lights except safety and security lights. 
  • Turn off all unused office equipment, including computers, monitors, printers, copiers, fax machine and scanners. 
  • For electric water heaters, check the time-of-use controllers to be sure the water heater is set to turn off at closing time and on at opening time. 
  • If your water-heating system includes a circulation pump, turn it off.
More information on holiday light safety and energy saving tips can be found at

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