It’s already started snowing in Michigan, and that means we are hunkering down for a harsh winter ahead in so many states in the U.S.
We’re used to the temperatures dipping well below zero here, but winter also typically signifies bracing for a few months of outrageous utility bills due to cranking the heat to stay warm all winter long. However, this winter, my husband and I decided to instate a few green family tips when it comes to home energy—both to save money on utility bills and do our part to conserve energy.
Here are four green tips that will help you save money and energy around the house this winter.
1. Go natural to light the way
Yes, I realize the days are shorter and the nights longer during the winter. I drove home at 5pm yesterday afternoon and it was already dark outside! However, when we do get sun during the daytime, I make sure to open the blinds and curtains to let natural sunlight light up the rooms in my home when I can. Taking advantage of the sun not only saves on energy bills, it also helps my husband’s dour winter mood as he suffers from Season Affective Disorder (or SAD).
2. Unplug to save on phantom power drain
I always tell my kids to turn off the television, computer, stereo, or game system when they aren’t using them and they’ve gotten really good at respecting the environment in that way. So this year I added the rule of unplugging all electronic devices as well. This ensures that the power is totally cut—otherwise, even though they’re off, electronics continue to suck up “phantom power,” which still converts to energy use on your electrical bills. To ensure you cut all power when devices aren’t in use, invest in power strips around the house.
3. Cut down on plastic consumption
I used to buy cases of bottled water every month for my family. And even though it did wonders for our health (compared to drinking sugary pop and juice), it wasn’t doing any good for the environment. So this fall I had a few water purifiers installed around our home so we could drink water from the tap and cut out our bottled water waste almost entirely. Plus, the filtered water has done wonders on our appliances—such as our home’s dishwasher, washing machine and water heater—they run much more efficiently due to the gentle water, and our clothes and dishes last longer too!
4. Set the timer on your home heating
The simplest way that we’ve conserved energy as a family so far this winter is with a programmable thermostat. Having control over our home heating has really lowered our utility bills. For instance, I set the timer to normal when we’re home, but I set it to automatically drop a few degrees when we’re at work and school, as well as when we’re in deep sleep, plus, throwing on an extra sweater or blanket while watching television or reading a book isn’t so bad when it saves vital resources. Teaching the family to bundle up rather than turn it up can save you a lot on home energy costs.
About The Author
Tina Jacobs is a registered nurse and DIY home improvement maven who has written and blogger for DIY Mother as well as numerous print and online publications ranging in topics from education to health and from home renovations to interior decorating.
Driving smart is a good way to save yourself some money, and help the environment, the whole world would benefit as well. How can you make a difference to the environment with your driving?
Here are seven nifty tips that you can do right to save you money and help the environment as well.
1. The very best thing you can do to help the environment with your car is cut down on your driving! All the same, you may not have that option, so drive slower instead. Most cars perform best at speeds of between 80 km/h to 100 km/h. Not too slow and not too fast is how to driving smart.
2. An astonishing 20% of your vehicle’s fuel consumption is used just to overcoming tire rolling resistance! How can you drive smart and save fuel in these conditions? Buy quality tires and make sure they are properly inflated will save on your gas bills!
3. Lighten up the load in your vehicle. I am sure there are many things in the trunk that do not need to be there. Go through each item and see if you really need it, remove it if is not needed. You can drive smart, save money with a lighter load. That will help your car be more fuel efficient too.
4. Turn off your engine while you wait if you are expected to be waiting more than a few minutes. Restarting your engine use up more or less about the same amount of fuel as one minute of idling time, so whenever you think you will be idling for more than a minute, turn off the engine. You will save fuel and money – saving wear and tear on the engine as well.
5. Drive smoothly. Erratic driving with sudden accelerating and hard braking uses up extra fuel. It puts excess wear and tear on your vehicle, which means additional costs to you and the environment.
Learning to driving smart, save money is mostly common sense. If you really need to drive, then be sure to drive with responsibly and sensibly. Notwithstanding, if you can walk easily to where you need to be, then do so! Use these 7 nifty tips to save you money when you have to use your vehicle to get to where you are going.