Whether you’re preparing for family and friends or spending time at the home of a loved one, a busy holiday season can make for high energy use. Watching holiday movies, baking feasts, lighting up decorations and charging multiple devices for travel can leave a strain on California’s natural beauty.

Energy Upgrade California, the statewide initiative inspiring residents (and visitors) to use energy better to keep California golden, has a few simple ways you can reduce your impact on the environment this holiday season:

• Give devices a holiday. Pull the plug on all electronic distractions so you can reconnect with friends and family. If you must use your phone, remember not to leave it charged for excessive amounts of time, which wastes energy and can damage the battery.

• Dim your screens, not your holiday spirit. If you do use tech during your holiday gatherings, dim the screens. Lowering the brightness on your computer or TV can use up to 20 percent less energy. Nobody at the party will know the difference!

• Power your home’s warmth with loved ones. As your guests arrive, the temperature in your home will naturally get warmer. Schedule your programmable thermostat or manually turn it down a couple of degrees before the party starts to save energy while keeping your guests comfortable.

• Set the mood with efficient lighting. An average home dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting. Switch off lights in empty rooms and use energy efficient lighting to power the lights you do leave on.

• Take charge of dishes. Fill the dishwasher all the way before running it – you’ll use less water and energy per dish. Also, scrape remaining food off plates instead of rinsing them before loading them into the dishwasher!

For other ways to save energy this holiday season, visit www.energyupgradeca.org.