Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Weekly Green - Tip 2

This is the 2nd in my new series, called The Weekly Green, where I will give you a simple, everyday tip for "going green", saving energy, reducing toxins and chemicals in our lives, going back to basics, self-sufficiency and more! Maybe they are tips you already have heard - if so, maybe it can be a friendly reminder for you if you've been slacking off... and if not, maybe it can help you remember to share the tip with others who may not know! (Click HERE to view Tip #1)

Tip #2 - Keep the heat inside!
BRRRRRRR - it's getting cold outside! As the thermometer goes down, the thermostat goes UP. There are a few ways to cut down on energy waste while still keeping warm. Here are some simple and also some advanced ideas, and some you can do with materials you already have:
The first is the most simple - turn the thermostat down a few degrees every day, so you gradually get used to a slightly colder environment, and put on a sweater. You don't want to be uncomfortable in your own home, but if you gradually ease into it, it is not as noticeable! Soon, you will find that you don't ever need the house to be above 68 degrees to be comfortable, and you can even be comfortable at 64, or maybe even 58 degrees! (if you are sick with a cold or flu, it's more than ok to turn up the heat though!!!)
Another measure is to physically seal up your house or apartment (check with your landlord first for some of these!). The precious heat will likely find it's way out somehow, but there are some things you can do that will cut down on your energy use and at the same time, cut down on your energy bill! In combination with the tip above...
Doors: check the rubber seal around the door for cracks, tears and gaps. Replace if necessary. You can also roll up a towel and put it along the bottom gap to help reduce drafts or heat escape - don't forget the door leading to your garage! More costly improvement is to add storm doors. These are very spendy, but can be worth it in the long run.
Windows: Check the rubber seals around them if they have them. Check the clear (or not clear!) caulk around the window and add more if it is crumbled away or cracked. You can also put saran wrap over the entire window from top-to-bottom, side-to-side (on the inside, not oudoors!) to add another layer of draft-blockage with it remaining "clear"... not the prettiest, but it's an option! There is also a product that works better than the saran wrap that is a huge sheet of plastic that seals the window with almost a vacuum seal action, and is easily removed. It is available at home improvement stores and some grocery stores and also have seen it at Target, Fred Meyer, and other "one-stop" stores. Another simple solution is to hang a comforter or thick drapes to keep the cold out. More expensive option: replace the windows with Energy Star rated ones - there is also a tax credit available for most models!
Air Leaks: Check out the photo below and use Soy-based expandable foam to fill the gaps you find and add calk to smaller/tighter areas where the foam would be to much for. You can also use simple things like duct tape for a quick fix! Adding insulation to your basement and attic are also HUGE energy savers! There is this really cool 100% cotton insulation available that does not contain fibergalss or fermaldahyde, check out the product info HERE - they sell it and the soy-based foam at many home improvemet stores (if you buy online, log into ebates or ShopAtHome first so you can get cash back for your purchase!).

If you have more tips to add, leave a comment and share them!

Stay tuned next week for Tip #3!

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