6 Sustainability Hacks to Help You Save Money this Winter
Marni Epstein-MervisOctober 21, 2018
It’s that time of year again! The winter months call for big knit scarves, cozying up by the fireplace and, unfortunately, spending more money on utility bills to keep your house warm (even our Florida friends got snow this year!) Use these six sustainable hacks to help you save money and energy this winter.
1. Plastic Shrink Your Windows
Older houses with original windows are typically harder to keep warm in the winter months. A home’s older glass panes can very often leak warm air out and allow a chilly breeze to blow through, simultaneously. In fact, Darrell Smith, Executive Director of the non-profit International Window Film Association notes, “windows typically account for 15-20 percent of the total heating load in a home.” Therefore, if you’ve got leaking windows you can end up using a lot more energy – and money – to keep your house warm. A way to temper this problem is to seal your windows with plastic film. Jeffery Weldler, and Interior Decorating Expert at Vant Wall Panels explains, “if you have leaky, older windows or notice that cool air is creeping into your home from the outdoors, the solution is sealing them with plastic shrink film and window insulation.” These relatively inexpensive materials can be purchased at your local home improvement store and should be applied to the interior windows of your home. This will help stop drafts, keep your home warmer and lower your heating bills.
2. Lower Your Thermostat
Lowering your home’s thermostat just a few degrees in the winter months can make the difference of hundreds of dollars in your heating bill and lower your energy usage. Kristen Fowler of home utility comparison site AllConnect says, “setting temperatures at or below 68 degrees is ideal for keeping power costs to a minimum during the cooler months. In fact, every extra degree set below 68 degrees can save you up to five percent on heating costs.”
Decorating your home for winter can extend to sustainability hacks like swapping out your window coverings. While in spring and summer, sheer or lightweight curtains are great and let the sun shine in, in colder months, you might want to consider something heavier. Decorating for winter should encompass a home’s more pragmatic accessories too, like covering glass windows with heavy curtains and blinds.
4. Wash Your Laundry in Cold Water
Choosing to wash your laundry with warm or hot water, much like keeping the temperature raised on your thermostat, can raise your energy bill. That’s why in winter, try washing your clothes in cold water as David Schneider, ASID, Green A.P. at Scheider Kennedy Design recommends. “Wash clothing in cold water whenever possible. Heating water in cold weather requires overcoming a larger temperature differential. This increases cost and requires more energy.” If you have a particularly dreadful stain on an item, putting a little warm water and spot remover solution beforehand might be your best solution. That will save you from having to waste the energy on clothes that don’t necessarily need it.
5. Only Heat What You Really Need
Larger houses, similar to older homes we mentioned above, are harder to keep warm in the colder months. Bigger homes require more energy to warm all that square footage. A sure way to save on energy costs is to only heat the rooms you really use. Jonathan Dessing, the home solar specialist with SolarPowerAuthority.com suggests, “close doors and vents in underused rooms so you are heating less of your home.”
6. Change Your Air Filters
This last hack is a thing few people remember to do: changing your air filters. This can increase your furnace’s efficiency and effectiveness. John Bodrozic, Co-Founder of Homezada explains, “you will be running your furnace a lot during the winter, and clogged filters can cause your unit to work harder and longer to keep your house warm.” If you make the extra effort to clean or replace your air filter, you’ll keep a more sustainable home this winter.
Following these six simple tips will not only help lower your utility costs during the colder months, but can also help reduce your carbon footprint!