Fast and Frugal Tips for Greener Living This Winter
By: Emily Harper, Guest Contributor
Compared to winter, it is easier to live green during any other time of the year. With all the extra need for heat, winter becomes a period when more energy is required by each household. Heaters alone require tremendous amount of energy. To add to this are the festive lights that adorn houses just in time for Christmas. And since it’s the season for holidays, a surplus in food consumption can also be observed during wintry weather. It may seem hard to live green during winter, but it is not impossible. The ways by which you can continue living green during winter may surprise you since they are mostly simple steps that aim to prevent waste of important energy before they even happen.
✓ INSULATE THE HOUSE
Heat is vital during winter. And though there is a need to conserve energy that produces heat at home, it doesn’t mean that you should just endure the cold, cold winter. There are ways to achieve costless heat or the heat that can be generated through optimizing the heat sources of your home.
Insulate, caulk and basically seal any crevice, nook, gap, crack or shaft that may allow cold to enter your home. For a warmer home, you need not to produce too much heat. The first step you can take is to keep the cold outside and to keep the heat inside the home. Insulate entrances to your home to ensure that heat does not escape and the cold does not get in. The same purpose is behind the need to seal leaks and to put door snakes on doors. The best part is the heat maintained through this simple step does not require excess energy. It’s basically free heat.
✓ CUT NOT THE USE BUT THE EXCESS
Maximize the use of other appliances at home that do not necessarily contribute to heating the house. Dryers and washing machines, for example, take up a huge deal of energy, so wash and dry the most number of clothes in one load. Televisions and computers that are left plugged continually taking electricity despite being unused, so unplug them when they are not used. Switch light bulbs to ones that consume less energy, CFL or Led bulbs are better compared to incandescent. You need all the energy you can conserve to power heat-producing appliances at home, such as your heater. To conserve, you should then limit the consumption done by other appliances. Compensate for the excess you might incur for heating.
✓ CLEAN WHAT NEEDS TO BE CLEAN
Make sure that your heat-producing appliances are efficient and working properly. Energy is wasted when some of it is used to overcome faulty parts or unclean filters. Cleaning the filters in your furnace or heater for example, saves a lot of energy since the heater works much more efficiently when its filters are clean. Generally, the need to conserve energy can be attained through maximizing those appliances that produce heat. This is to ensure that heat is produced at the cost of the least amount of energy possible. You can also try using the furnace for real. The idea of it never gets old.
✓ KEEP YOUR HOME GREEN
If keeping a green yard is no longer possible, keep your home green, literally. Indoor plants may help lighten up the home and make it cozier. Since the presence of greeneries is limited in the outdoors during winter, you can make up for it inside your home. You can try container gardening and plant trees that are suitable for cold weather. Plants are extremely beneficial; they are essentially a costless source of unlimited clean energy. With just that, it’s easy to see their necessity inside the home.
✓ RECYCLE AND PLAN WELL
Since the holidays are approaching, you can conserve not only energy, but also other resources. Holidays are festive and common practices during this time are compounded with excess use of plastic bags and gift wrappers and a glorious feast of sumptuous food. For plastic bags and gift wraps, recycling is necessary. Use recyclable cloth bags or baskets when shopping instead of plastic ones. When shopping, make sure that all the items you need are written on a list. This is to prevent instances where you may forget something and thereby need to go back to stores. Limit your trips to the store to limit the amount of energy used in transportation.
To live green during winter, inexpensive energy solutions are important. The governing principle is that since more energy is consumed in producing heat, other energy-consuming activities or appliances should be limited. Though the outside is white and cold, keep your house green and warm this winter with this fast and frugal checklist.
Image credit: Bill Barber via Flickr.
About the Author: Emily Harper is a green advocate, one of the many brave people aiming to color the world back in green.