Eco-Friendly Ways To Keep Warm This Winter

by Diane, M.P.H, M.S.

Winter and the holiday season are almost here, along with possibly harsh winter weather. When temperatures drop to single digits, it’s easy to just turn the thermostat up. While that will keep you cozy during the cold months, it’s not the greenest way to warm up. Here are tips for staying comfortable, while minimizing your impact on the environment.

  • Lock windows to ensure that they’re tightly sealed.
  • Open blinds and curtains during bright, sunny days: When it’s cold and dark, closing curtains can help keep your home warm. When the sun is shining, though, you can warm your home by opening your curtains. Even when it’s freezing outside, solar energy can cause the inside temperature to rise. Similar to the way closing the blinds in the summer can keep your house cooler, opening blinds and curtains on sunny winter days can add indoor warmth, especially in rooms getting direct sunlight. This can be an inexpensive, yet effective, way to warm your home.
  • Use the oven strategically: There’s a reason so many winter comfort foods are dishes that require long, slow cooking. They not only satisfy the stomach, but are also a good way to warm your house. If you plan to prepare a pot of soup or slow-baked casserole, try to make it during the coldest part of the day. If you know the weather’s going to be especially bad, consider making a meal that requires a longer cooking time.
  • Cook more often: When turned on, your oven can add some nice heat to your environment. While cooking requires energy, it is necessary, and energy-efficient appliances make it more eco-friendly.
  • Stay warm by eating warming foods: Soups, stews, curries and other hot meals can all help. Try to add more herbs and spices, such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, garlic, and ginger, to your diet. These spices increase circulation, making it easier for your body to keep warm.
  • Drink warm beverages: Hot beverages, like hot foods, can warm your body. Stay comfortable and healthy by drinking more tea or warm water, treat yourself to an occasional hot cocoa, or prepare a hot toddy, rather than a cocktail with ice.
  • Reverse ceiling fans: Ceiling fans provide a great way for changing the temperature without adjusting the thermostat. While most people only think of them for cooling, most ceiling fans have a switch that lets you reverse the blades’ direction. Ceiling fans that operate in a clockwise direction circulate and push down rising heat that would otherwise be trapped near the ceiling.
  • Choose the right window treatment: The right window treatment can help to keep cold out and heat in, and heavy drapes can add an extra layer of insulation between you and the outdoors. This is especially true in older homes with single-
    pane windows. Uncovered windows can let in cold when the sun isn’t shining, but heavy drapes keep the cold trapped against the window.
  • Use area rugs and floor mats: Bare floors, like unclad windows, allow the cold to get in. If you don’t have carpet, area rugs can provide insulation between your feet and frigid floors. From large area rugs that cover half of a room to small throw rugs at the bedside, all rugs have their place. Heated floor mats can offer the benefit of radiant heating in some cold areas.
  • Block drafts with caulk or insulation: Look around your home for gaps and cracks where cold air can enter. Seal these areas, apply weather stripping and re-caulk any doors and windows that might need it. Cold drafts can occur in many places, areas around electrical outlets, switches and ceiling fans which let cold air in around their bases. Every bit of cold air makes a difference when the weather is frigid, so caulking or insulating around outlets and fan bases may help.
  • Turn the thermostat down: Turning a thermostat down by even a couple of degrees can greatly reduce energy use. Keep your home a bit cooler at night, while you stay warm under blankets and comforters.
  • Get a programmable thermostat: This will spare you from having to remember to turn the temperature down before leaving for work and the discomfort of waiting for your home to heat up when you get home. It is also easy to override. If your apartment has one, use it. If it doesn’t, ask your property manager if one can be installed. Using a programmable thermostat helps to ensure you’re not wasting heat when you’re away from home and will automatically adjust the temperature for nighttime and daytime.
  • If you’re not using a room often, reduce heat flow through it’s vents and keep the door shut.
  • Exercise! Working up a sweat, whether by going for a brisk walk, taking part in a yoga class, or even doing exercises at home, helps to naturally raise your body temperature.
  • Wear a warm pair of socks and slippers when home.
  • Dress with layers using thermal underwear, sweaters, sweatshirts, leggings, warm pants, a scarf, hat and mittens.
  • Use throw blankets when you sit, lay around and are less likely to be active, in order to stay warm and cozy.
  • Use a hot water bottle, a simple heating device, when on the couch or in bed with a good book and a cup of warm tea.

References:

  1. Brady, Scott. 10 Eco-Friendly Ways to Stay Warm in the Fall and Winter. Home Bamboo Benefits Cariloha 
 Reviews Green. 09/11/15. (Source: blog.cariloha.com/10-eco-friendly-ways-to-stay-warm-in-the-fall-and-winter/).
  2. Carter, Ashley. Green Technology – 6 Eco-Friendly Ways Keep Warm This Winter. 10/18/16. (Source: https:// usgreentechnology.com/6-eco-friendly-ways-keep-warm/).
  3. Denikin, Paul. Add Value To Your Home With Eco-Friendly DIY Projects. 08/01/16.

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