1. Turn the thermostat down.
Find a blanket to share. Try setting it at 68 degrees in winter. You can put the money you save toward your next movie night.
2. Dim the lights, set the mood.
Rick Mifflin, Duke Energy director of residential markets, recommends LEDs – a candelabra-type bulb – as fitting for a romantic dinner. LEDs use 20 percent to 25 percent of the electricity of traditional incandescent lamps, he says. They’re also dimmable. Whether you pull up your Barry White or Michael Buble playlist is up to you.
3. Turn off your electric blanket and snuggle.
Two words: body heat. (But if you’re insistent on an additional heating source, the elecric blanket is more energy efficient than the space heater. The U.S. Energy Department says an electric blanket uses $18 a year in electricity, while a space heater may run about $66 a year.)
4. Do something romantic together.
Slip into something comfortable (like overalls), get out the toolbox and caulk your windows or weatherproof your doors. Be warned: Do not suggest any of these activities as an alternative to dinner and roses on Feb. 14.
5. Change your furnace filter.
Author Gary Chapman says there are five love languages, and one of them is "acts of service." Nothing says love like changing the furnace filter. Bonus points if you do it without being asked.
6. Show your attic and basement some love.
Attic sealing and insulation are like a big, warm hug for the parts of your home that can let heat escape (or enter in summer). Shower the neglected parts of your abode with affection … and reap the benefits on your next power bill.
A romantic, free in-home energy assessment from a Duke Energy expert is a great way to spend time together and learn about all the money- and energy-saving possibilities. Duke Energy has experts dedicated to helping customers save energy and money. Offerings vary state to state. Visit duke-energy.com and choose “Save Energy & Money” under the residential tab.
Bonus tip: With the money you’re going to save, buy your sweetheart some flowers, create a special meal at home or make dinner reservations. Or if you’re really secure in your relationship, bring up the possibility of giving each other the gift of new appliances. Electric water heaters aren’t very romantic, but trading your 15-year-old model for an energy-efficient one could cut 50 percent off your annual costs. What better way to pad your couples’ vacation fund?
Romance never goes out of style. And neither does conserving energy.