Winter: the season for roaring fires, wooly jumpers and hot beverages. You’ll often be tempted to turn your thermostat up as far as it will go, or let your car heat up while you finish getting ready. Although these will help you feel a bit more comfortable in the short term, they’re not the greenest solutions to combatting the winter months. In fact, they’re a significant sap on energy usage, bad for the environment and can be expensive, too.
There are plenty of ways you can stay warm and look after the planet at the same time. With this in mind, we’ve come up with a few pointers on how you can be environmentally friendly in winter.
Seal all the draughts in your home
Go on the hunt for draughts. You’ll find that heat often escapes under doorways and windows, but it can also occur in places you’d never think of. Whereas you can keep the heat in with a draught-excluder or even an old blanket placed in front of a door, other sources of heat loss require a little extra thinking.
Apply a little sealant or rope caulk around electrical outlets. They can let small amounts of cold into your home – small, but every little helps when the weather is bitterly cold!
Soft furnishings are your friend
To avoid relying too much on your central heating, surround yourself with as many soft furnishings as possible. A rug under your feet is far more agreeable than a cold wooden floor!
Bare floors easily let the cold in, so a thick rug is an excellent way to insulate your home. From a hand-knitted scarf to a brand new carpet, soft furnishings are a relatively inexpensive way to keep warm. They don’t harm the environment, either.
Use your oven more
See that cake recipe you’ve been meaning to try? Winter is the perfect season to do it, especially if you live in a small- to medium-sized apartment. Using the oven will warm up the rest of your home, so if you know you’re in for a particularly cold night, cook something that takes a while.
Think about the kinds of meals you want to eat in winter. Slow-baked casseroles, indulgent pies or a big lasagne will heat your home and fill you with tasty, comforting food.
Fibreglass and foam are commonly used for insulating homes, but there are materials that are far better for the environment – such as wool, cork, and old denim.
Insulation made from foam and fibreglass contains hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which is not only an intimidatingly long word but is also very damaging to the ozone layer. HCFCs contribute to what’s called the ‘Greenhouse Effect’.
Work up a sweat
It might be the last thing you want to do, especially when it’s cold, but a little exercise can go a long way. Not only will it make you feel better, but you’ll instantly feel warmer as the blood gets pumping.
Whether it’s a few rounds of star jumps in front of the TV, or an actual venture outside for a run, you’ll soon be warm and will stay warm for a couple of hours after.
Don’t go overboard with your kettle
We all love a hot beverage in winter, and there’s nothing quite like clasping your hands around a cup of tea when it’s cold out, but keep an eye on how much water you put in the kettle before boiling.
What many of us do is overestimate how much water we need, then end up boiling too much. Boiling a kettle uses more energy than you might think – almost enough to light a whole household.
You can even buy energy-efficient kettles to reduce usage. The best tip is to pour however much water you need into your mug, then pour it into the kettle. Simple!
Leaving the tap running
Try not to leave the tap running, whether you’re brushing your teeth or washing the dishes, as it wastes quite a bit of water. Soak dishes before washing them – it may seem an insignificant measure, but in the grand scheme of things it will be the small things you do that make a difference.
Have you thought about solar energy?
We’re all responsible for the environment, and the things we do or do not do will contribute to its health. The above tips are all handy, easily achievable solutions to greener living. A solution that’s just as handy – surprisingly easy, in fact – is solar panel technology.
More than 80% of the British public support solar power, so much so that it’s become the most popular source of energy. It’s environmentally-friendly, affordable and, with us, can be installed on your property between just seven to ten days.
Whether you’d like a quote or just a little more information, please get in touch – we’d be happy to talk through your options