13 Ways to Be More Green with Heating & Insulation
In previous article we explained 20 ways to save energy with your home appliances.
This article will show you 13 ways to be more sustainable with your heating and insulation.
1. Use your heating wisely
Use your heating thermostats wisely. If you lower the house temperature overnight by 5 degrees and turn it up again in the morning, you will save a lot of money and use a lot less resources.
You can also have unused rooms set to a cool setting in winter, rather than keep the whole house heated.
If you go away for a weekend you can lower your overall house heating to 55 degrees. This will keep the pipes from freezing, but will dramatically reduce your bills.
2. More people = less heating needed
If you are having a party, save a bit on your heating bill by turning the thermostats way down. A human body in an enclosed room gives out heat roughly equivalent to 175 watts of power.
That's a very bright light bulb!
If you have 20 people in a room, that's the equivalent of a 3.5 kilowatt heater! It will get pretty warm if you leave the room heating at its normal setting, so turn it down for the evening and save all round!
3. Program your thermostats
Use programmable thermostats to control your heating if possible.
If they are properly programmed, they can reduce close to 2,000 pounds of greenhouse emissions a year in an average home, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
They also state that if every home in the US adopted these measures and ensured that leaks were minimized or even sealed, then the country could prevent 169 billion pounds of greenhouse emissions a year.
4. Insulate your water heater
Insulate your water heater tank with an insulating blanket if you still use that system.
You can save half a ton of carbon dioxide emissions escaping every year by simply doing this. You'll save money big time too.
Don't stop with the tank though, insulate the pipes leaving the tank as well. Usually the hot water has to heat the cold pipes before it is able to provide hot water at the sink faucet, which may be some distance from the tank.
The better insulated the whole system is, the more you save both in cash and reduced CO2 emissions. All you have to do is work on your home!
5. Consider solar panels
Consider installing solar panels. They can be expensive to install, but they work well in places where there is plenty of light.
They don't need hot sunshine to operate, just light, so bright winter days are good enough.
You may not be able to completely run your home on solar power, but you can do quite a lot with a little bit of careful planning.
6. Furnace maintenance
Have your furnace serviced once a year and change the air filter whenever it needs changing.
This can greatly reduce your heating bill as the furnace will run more efficiently, costing less to run in the process.
7. Keep heating vents clear
Air returns and heating vents should be kept clear of all obstructions.
Keep furniture or rugs and carpets clear and let the air flow go unhindered. This will increase the efficiency of the system, saving you money and k eeping down on resource usage.
8. Insulate, insulate, insulate
Conserve heat. Insulate every part of the house that can be insulated if you have not already done so.
The loft is a very important place to insulate. Heat rises, and if your loft is not properly insulated, the heat will just keep rising straight out of the roof!
Of course, your hard earned money will effectively pour out of the roof with it.
You can also insulate your wall cavities. Heat will go wherever it can, not just up, so insulate the sides as well. Some 40% of heat loss is often attributed to the lack of cavity wall insulation.
If you already have home insulation, you might benefit from upgrading it.
Six or seven inches of insulation is common, but an extra three or four inches won't cost much more, and the savings gained will be immense over the years.
9. Use ecofriendly insulation materials
Consider using ecofriendly insulation materials if you are insulating from scratch, or upgrading your existing insulation.
Cellulose insulation, using shredded old newspapers and m agazines, or insulation made from formaldehyde free fiberglass, is much more friendly to the environment than traditional materials are.
These new ecofriendly materials will insulate every bit as good as the older materials will, and you'll save money thr ough efficient insulation and the environment will benefit too.
10. Check for drafts
Drafts can seriously lower a room temperature. Make sure that all possible areas of drafts are closed off.
Weather stripping is cheap to buy and it can seal loose doors and windows, making them more effective at keeping the heat in and the cold out.
Of course, the reverse is true for the summer months. Proper seals will help to make your air conditioning more effective and will save you money.
11. Go for multi-glazed windows
This may seem obvious, but I'll say it anyway: replace any single glazed windows with double, or even triple, glazing.
Single glazed windows were common in the old days, but they are not very good at insulation; the heat will escape as easily as if there is nothing there.
Double glazing is very efficient at trapping heat in a room, or keeping it out on hot summer days. And triple glazing is even better still.
The cost of upgrading can be quite steep, but you will save considerably in the long term.
Consider it as a sensible investment in your future.
12. Cover single glazed windows
If you have single glazed windows, and you simply can't afford to upgrade to double glazed windows, then here's a simple and inexpensive tip that can help: cover your windows with bubble wrap.
OK, it sounds silly, but it really does work. It lets light in, though you cannot see through the windows properly, but it will reduce heat loss through the window by about 45%.
That's a very significant amount!
The idea is simple: cut a sheet of bubble wrap to fit the window exactly, spray it gently with plain water, and stick it on to the window. It should stay there. And when you remove it there isn't any difficult mess to clean up.
You save money by retaining heat and the environment saves by having less demand on its resources!
13. Insulate unused fireplaces
Insulate any open fireplaces you may have. Before I go any further, let me make it perfectly clear that this applies ONLY to fireplaces that are not actually being used!
I heard recently of someone who read of this idea, liked it and blocked up his chimney, then lit a fire. The house burned down.
However, if there are open fireplaces that are not being used, they are acting as vents for all the heat you are producing. You'd be as well off throwing a fistful of dollars out of the window every morning!
Insulating your open fireplaces that you are not using is easy. A large sheet of cardboard from a large box cut to size can usually do the trick.
This will prevent the heat from escaping up the chimney, and prevent drafts from entering down the chimney.
You can get more fancy if you like, but it's best to make the insulating material removable so that you can use the fireplace again whenever you want to.
NOTE: One word of warning about insulating and sealing your home: you do need fresh air to enter the house. If your heating system does not introduce fresh air, then make sure that you do at some point through each day. If you have sealed the house tight and insulated well, you should consider installing carbon monoxide detectors in addition to your smoke detectors. This will tell you if there is a build up of carbon monoxide, which will mean that not enough fresh air is entering the building.
There it was, 13 ways to save energy and be more sustainable with your heating and insulation.
You can really make a difference by making some of these changes. Think about it.
Are you applying any of the green strategies from this article? Let us know below!