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The Hot Spot
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When it comes to giving gifts, it’s hard to beat items that help your friends and loved ones save money on energy expenses. This week, we’re sharing five energy-saving gift ideas for the holidays to help get you started. 

  1. Solar-Powered Toys 
    Still searching for gift ideas for the little ones in your life? Try a solar-powered toy. You won’t ever have to purchase batteries or recharge them with electricity, and many also offer a chance for children to develop their creativity, building skills and knowledge of green concepts. Here are some fun ideas: 
    TEMI STEM Solar Robot Kit for Kids 
    4 Set STEM Solar Motor Kit 
    OWI Super Solar Recycler

  2. Stovetop Coffee Makers
    About 2/3 of American adults drink at least one cup of coffee every day—and many of us are brewing that up at home. But electric models aren’t that efficient when it comes to energy use, particularly when they get older. A great alternative—especially if you’ve got an energy-saving natural gas stove—is to purchase a stovetop coffee maker, also known as a moka pot or Italian coffee maker. Here are a few highly rated picks that would be great gift ideas:
    CUISINOX Roma 10-Cup Stainless Stovetop Moka Expresso Maker
    Bialetti Moka Express
    IMUSA Expresso Stovetop Coffeemaker

  3. Smart Thermostats
    One of the best ways to cut down on energy use is by installing a smart thermostat. They automatically adjust the temperature of your home according to your preferences and include other convenient, energy-saving features. Plus, if you should ever have the need, many can be adjusted with your mobile device even when you’re far from home. Here are several we like:
    Google Nest Learning Thermostat
    ecobee New Smart Thermostat Premium
    Amazon Smart Thermostat

  4. Solar-Powered Chargers
    Do you have a friend or loved one always on the move with frequent device charging issues? Gift them a solar-powered battery charger for their phones, laptops and tablets this holiday season, and they can stay powered up even when they’re not near a traditional source of electricity. Here are a few of the brands on the market with good reviews:
    SoloForce Solar Power Bank
    Voltzy Solar Power Bank
    Smart Gear Solar Power Bank

  5. Energy Monitoring Devices
    If you’re trying to cut electricity use at home, it’s probably a good idea to get a sense of which devices and appliances are using the most energy. Energy monitors, which connect to your home’s electricity meter, are one of the best ways to do that. Many let you track usage at a specific appliance, circuit or at the whole-home level, giving you key insight into where you might need to make changes. Here are three top choices that would make welcome gifts:
    Sense Home Energy
    CURB Home Energy Monitoring System
    efergy Engage