Cold Weather Have
You Blue? Consider Going Green!
for Wintertime Energy Conservation
Cold weather not only
brings ice and snow, it also increases energy usage. The dark
days of winter cause people to turn on their lights earlier
and leave them on longer. People drive cars more and walk
or ride bikes less in colder temperatures.
Cars burn more fuel
in winter due to colder air temperatures and longer warm-up
times. Regardless of the home heating method used, energy
consumption for heat increases. As consumers, it is important
for us to take advantage of every energy-saving opportunity.
Think Green, save money and help to protect the environment.
There are ways to act NOW to reduce energy usage:
energy efficient light bulbs. They will last longer, reduce
operating costs, save money and still provide light quality
comparable to conventional bulbs.
Turn off incandescent lights when you leave a room.
timers for your lights for safety and efficiency when you
come home late or take a vacation.
time and gas--before shopping for special items, call to see
if they are available or can be ordered by phone.
Reduce air pollution and conserve gas by carpooling when:
errands with a friend.
the kids to school.
through cost effective mail order catalogues, when appropriate.
a day/night thermostat which lowers temperatures at night
or when you are not at home. It will also turn on the heat
before you wake up. Note: According to the U.S. Department
of Energy, fuel savings range from 9-18% when thermostats
are set back 10 degrees for a period of eight hours.
the amount of heat going to rooms that are rarely occupied.
(Check with a professional heating expert if you are unsure
of how to do this, or if you have a heat pump system.)
Take time to caulk around drafty windows, especially near
Cover outside window air conditioners or remove them when
possible. If you cannot reach the outside, use heavy duty
plastic sheeting to cover the inside of the unit. Caulk or
use weather stripping around window frames where air conditioners
Consider winterizing your windows. If you need to replace
windows, read the October 1993 Consumer Reports to get more
information on the practicality of double-glazed or Heat Mirror
windows which use a special coating to retain interior heat.
Do a little research and also check with an architect to see
which type is best and most economical to install.
Purchase rolls of reflective film in different shades of darkness
which adhere to windows and save up to 40% heat loss in the
winter. Choices include film with self-adhesive backing that
is not reusable after removal or "wetables" in which a spray
bottle is used to wet one side of the film before application
Use insulated drapes to improve energy efficiency. These window
treatments help to keep the heat in and cold out.
Repair or replace old or inefficient storm windows and doors.
Add insulation between attic beams, where the insulation is
worn or exits in insufficient amounts. Eight inches of fiberglass
insulation or about five inches of foamboard are needed to
achieve an R-26 rating recommended by the Department of Energy.
Before purchasing insulation, check R-ratings to determine
the most cost effective method for your home. Remember to
wear gloves and a mask when installing insulation.
Apply weather stripping to attic doors and areas around fold-down
your heating units clean and in good operating condition by
vacuuming them and periodically having a maintenance check-up.
flue dampers when not using your fireplace to avoid drafts.
Use insulated plywood to close off unused fireplaces and decorate
the wood to match your room.
Check your car frequently during the winter months for toxic
chemical leaks and make repairs as soon as possible.
Improve your car's fuel efficiency by having the engine tuned
regularly and by changing the oil every 3 months or 3,000
miles. Monitoring fuel efficiency is easy. Just set your trip
odometer to 0 before filling the tank. The next time you fill
up, divide the number of miles on your trip odometer by the
number of gallons you purchased.