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Green Energy Gift Guide 2013

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Whether you want to spread the good word when it comes to green energy or you're buying a gift for a total green energy nerd you've come to the right place. These gift ideas work for the person who geeks out about the latest solar modules or loves driving their SUV in the suburbs.

Green Energy Futures Gift #1 -- The Nest programmable thermostat

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Before the Nest, programmable thermostats were boring, practical and extremely homely devices. After the Nest, programmable thermostats are now a conversation starter, a glowing jewel on your wall and something you can show off to visitors.

The original designer of the iPod started the company and he brought that same level of design and intuitive, easy-to-use controls to a device that struggled with usability issues. I have had one in my home since February and it's been a revelation.

It connects to my smartphone and iPad, it's easy to program and it even knows the weather.
If used effectively they can save you 30 per cent on your bill during heating season .For an average single family home that that's a savings of $100 to $200 over the heating season.

The Nest retails for $249 at most home hardware stores.

Green Energy Futures Gift #2 -- Electric bike

If you're looking for an over-the-top gift how about an electric bike?

They're super fun and the battery technology has improved radically to the point where the bike we tried out has a range of 40 kilometers and can go 32 kilometers per hour.

We tested out a couple of different bikes by electric bike manufacturer Pedego and they range from step-through cruisers to fatbikes perfect for winter commuting. They use a simple twist throttle to engage the battery.

"The power is amazing. It makes you feel like you have bionic legs," says electric bike owner Sonny Shem.

There are a lot of brands out there and we recommend you do your research and take it for a test-drive before buying one. The cost ranges from $400 to $4,000.

Green Energy Futures Gift #3 - A home energy audit or home energy monitor

While the Nest is pretty and the electric bike is fun, our next gift idea is for the uber-practical person in your life.

A good home energy auditor is easy to find through an online search and by reading reviews. They will go through your house, conduct multiple tests and give you a laundry list of fixes both big and small that will help you save money on your heating, water and electricity bills.

We did a story on C-Returns and these guys know their stuff. They check everything from your light bulbs to your furnace, have infrared cameras to find heat loss and they do a blower door test to find how airtight your home really is.

A home energy audit will cost between $250 to $400 dollars.

If the cost of the audit is too much try getting a home electricity energy monitor. They're a fun little stocking stuffer that reveals power vampires in your home. They run between $20 to $30 dollars.

Green Energy Futures Gift #4 -- LED light bulbs

LED bulbs are a great little stocking stuffer and the price has come down so much. We like the Phillips and Cree brands. A sixty-watt equivalent LED bulb will cost you $15 each and will last 25,000 hours.

They're energy efficient; A 60-watt equivalent Cree Warm White LED bulb will put out the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent but only use 9.5 watts. LEDs also love the cold weather so have no fear when you put them in your garage or outside. While they cost more upfront than CFLs they last that much longer and you don't have to worry about mercury.

There are even smartphone controlled LEDs like the Insteon and the Hue that look pretty cool as well. And don't forget to use LED Christmas lights around the home.

Green Energy Futures Gift #5 -- Bullfrog Power membership

And for the true green energy enthusiast in your life why not actually get them green energy. When you become a member of Bullfrog Power you are directly involved in putting more green energy into Canada's grid.

Go to bullfrogpower.ca, estimate how much energy the person you're signing up uses (as long as you roughly know the size of the person's house you're fine) and Bullfrog will insure that the same amount of green energy is injected into your local grid.

For a 1,500-2,000-square foot home in Alberta the price comes out to $15 a month. For a six-month trial that would be a $90.

By giving renewable producers a premium for their product those producers are able to get off the ground.

We wish you a very happy holiday season. Let us know about your green energy gift ideas in the comments.

Green Energy Futures Holiday Gift Guide
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