Go Green: Tips for being energy-efficient - even in winter
In this column, staff at the Center for EcoTechnology offer advice on easy ways for people — and businesses — to introduce green changes in their daily lives.
Q: Winter has arrived. Can you share some tips for dealing with the cold and snow sustainably, and in a way that will also save me some money?
A: Absolutely! Here are some of our favorites:
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- Use a programmable thermostat to set a heating schedule; don't heat your home while you're at work or asleep.
- Take advantage of natural light and heat. Leave your curtains and shades open during the day to let the sun in. Close them at night to trap heat in your home.
- Have your heating system serviced yearly to keep it efficient and prevent breakdowns.
- If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when you're not using it.
- Use caulk to seal any gaps around windows or doors.
- Ceiling fans normally run counter-clockwise, pushing air down, which cools you as the air carries away your body heat. Most fans have a switch to reverse the fan's direction, which causes it to pull colder air up toward the ceiling. Hot air rises, but the influx of cold air from the fan pushes it down to your level.
- Put on a sweater or burrow under some blankets. Layer up.
- Get cozy with a hot beverage.
- Do some aerobic exercise. Burn calories for heat.
- Don't idle your car. The Department of Energy says most vehicle manufacturers advise that you should start driving off slowly after 30 seconds — driving helps your engine heat up faster than idling and you'll get better fuel efficiency as your engine approaches its ideal operating temperature.
- Clear your windshield with science. Make a mixture of two parts rubbing alcohol to one part water and put it in a spray bottle you keep at room temperature. The warmth from the liquid melts the ice and the alcohol prevents refreezing due to its lower freezing point. No more scraping.
- Properly inflate your tires. You'll get better gas mileage and should have better traction on snowy roads.
For more tips to stay warm (or cool) and save money all year long, check us out at www.cetonline.org!
For more than 40 years, CET has helped people and businesses in Massachusetts save energy and reduce waste. Look for this column every month and send Go Green questions to GoGreen@cetonline.org.
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