Love and Flu

Can you feel what’s in the air? No – not the clean air we’re enjoying from lower emissions across the U.S. We’re referring to all the LOVE! That’s because Valentine’s Day is here. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, there are still ways you can share the love with your significant other, friends, and family. And if you’re anything like this author, then there is always me time too!

New Valentine’s Trends for Outdoor Dining

With restrictions on dining across the U.S., many restaurants have moved their dining outside to accommodate their patrons. Even though cooler temperatures are expected across the U.S. this Valentine’s Day, many people are still looking to get outdoors and support local businesses. To ensure people still have an enjoyable experience outdoors even as temperatures are lower, restaurants have turned to propane heaters, overhead gas and electric heaters, as well as fire pits. Axios reported that while one retailer in New York said demand was up 200%, a big-box retailer said sales soared over 1,200%.

If you’ve passed any restaurant struggling to stay open, you’ve probably seen these different warmers in an outdoor dining area or coffee shops near you. These propane heaters are great because they can help keep you warm at your table even in winter, but you can still cozy up to your Valentine while enjoying the heat! Win-win.

iglooAnother hot pandemic trend has been igloos, pods, and tents, most with some form of opening or air purifier that helps keep the heat in with large and small heaters. According to the National Restaurant Association, these options have risen in popularity since the fall as numbers for outdoor dining dropped from 74% in early September to 52% in late November. While they’re not as abundant, food websites like Eater help you to find restaurants in your city where you can find them to make reservations. Like the propane industry and retailers that sell heaters and propane, the makers of these igloos have seen a massive demand in recent months – making them a hot item for Valentine’s dinners and dates this winter! And with most cities limiting to a single household, this can still be an excellent option to keep you safe.

No matter how you like to celebrate, one thing is for sure, Valentine’s Day is about love! Even if you don’t decide to go out, there are other ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. If staying in is your bag, then we want to share some sexy energy-saving tips so you can rest assured this adored holiday goes smoothly.

Going out can be fun, but so is staying in.

Regardless of how COVID-19 cases may be in your town, the option to stay in can be just as romantic as eating out. According to some estimates, more than 80% of the increased energy use between 1997 and 2002 in the United States was food-related. Increased focus on convenience, often through the sale of prepared food, has required massive amounts of energy. Methods for processing, storing, and cooking food have also become more energy-intensive. Even in individual home kitchens, high-tech gadgets that must be plugged into the wall are becoming more common.

Plus, staying in means you can set the mood with the right lighting – ooh, sexy.

By lighting, we’re talking LED lighting. LED bulbs were designed as a more energy-efficient light source, using a semiconductor to convert electricity into light. LED lights use their energy much more efficiently than other types of bulbs — producing light up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent light bulbs and 80% more efficient than CFLs. This is due in part to the fact that LED bulbs require much less wattage than incandescent or CFL bulbs. Fluorescent lights waste 95% of their energy as heat and only use 5% to generate light. LEDs are the complete opposite—using an astonishing 95% of their energy as light.

Pro-tip for singles

You could use Valentine’s as just another night to make plans with friends or family. Though many people still don’t feel safe or, quite frankly, don’t want to be around all of those couples. Not feeling it? No problem, just stay in! This is an excellent excuse to treat-yo-self with DoorDash or Grubhub if you don’t feel like cooking. These meal delivery services have more than doubled their business since the beginning of the pandemic. Though they use a lot of gas driving around. So if it is energy you are trying to save, then grab your favorite beverage and snack, turn off all the lights and bask in the glow from the light coming off the TV. Netflix latest hit show Bridgerton, perhaps?

Avoid distractions. Be sure to turn off those devices!

Focus on you or your Valentine by turning off your phone and devices. Not only will it save energy, but it will also be easier to really connect without all those distractions.

Remember that electronics that are plugged in still use energy when they are turned off. But you can use a power strip to make it easier to unplug and ultimately turn them off with one flick of a switch.

Staying in also means your appliances should be energy efficient, too.

Up to 65% of your home’s energy goes into heating and cooling. Like a smart thermostat, energy-efficient upgrades can help you cut costs, making sure that your wallet is just as happy as you are. With these upgrades, you’re likely to save up to $180 per year.

If you decide to go out anyway, make sure you have the programmable thermostat, so the house isn’t overheating, wasting money you could have spent on your Valentine.

Couldn’t care less about Valentine’s Day but still want to get out of the house?

If you feel a little stir crazy from this COVID winter, get outside without using any gas in your car –take a walk around your neighborhood before or after dinner. Or take a bike ride to a local trail or scenic spot nearby and show some love for the great outdoors.