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Going Green and Cutting Costs this Winter

February 10, 2011

This winter season may have given Mid-Missouri one of the strongest snow storms it’s seen in several years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep it green this season. According to Planet Green, half of the energy in the American grid is coal generated, which is unsustainable! So, here are five ways to not only make your home a greener home this winter, but to also put more green in your bank account!

1. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate!

Take a look around your house, and see where you need to fill the cracks. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection agency, home sealing can reduce your energy bill by ten percent. When you look around, you will notice a variety of places that will let in the cold air, such as the doors, windows, electrical outlets, the attic and the basement. Take the time to insulate these areas to lower your bills and boost your bank balance. One of the most efficient ways to keep the cracks airtight is weather stripping. This is especially effective in older homes, as the cracks in doors and windows can really deteriorate over time.

There are several types of weather stripping, but the most affordable type is pressure-sensitive adhesive back foam. You can get it in rubber or plastic. All you have  do is compress it to the surface. Also, it has a cushioning to it, and prevents the slamming of windows and doors.

To learn about other types of weather stripping and how to install it in your home, I recommend the How Stuff Works website’s tips.

A second way of preventing drafts in your home is adding more insulation. It will save money, and it’s a green-friendly way to keep your house warm.  First, you need to evaluate your home to figure out how much more insulation you need.

Here’s a useful table the U.S. Department of Energy provides to help you figure it out:

You can also call your local power company and ask for an energy audit. After you have evaluated the insulation in your home, you can pick a type of insulation appropriate for your house and start insulating.

2. Layer Up!

Forget fashion, think heat! When you are deciding what to wear in the morning, pick out your warmest materials, like wool. The more layers the better! Layers not only trap air better, but they fill the space between you and your winter coat. Also , wear dark colors, because they absorb light and heat, while light colors reflect it.

3. Buy a Space Heater!

If you’re anything like me, you probably only live in two to three rooms in your house, so only heat those rooms!  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average family spends $1,400 a year on energy bills. About half of that comes from heating and cooling your house.

So, set your thermometer to a cool 65 degrees fahrenheit, and try to spend a majority of your time in the rooms you heat. A space heater I recommend is the Lasko Flat Panel Heater. There are two heat settings, and it’s especially good for the environment with its digital, auto heat feature. It has safety features, such as the eight-hour automatic shut-off timer and overheat protection. It’s portable, so you can easily move it from room to room. Also, it’s very quiet, which is a major plus.

But be careful. Do not let a space heater run if you leave a room.

4. Leave the Oven Door Open

It really is the little things that count! You can use this little trick after baking a tray of your favorite deluxe chocolate chip cookies or cooking your favorite chicken dinner. Leave the oven door open to let the heat escape into your home. This practice of recycling old heat saves money and heats your kitchen, just in time for you to sit down for dinner. The only drawback to this tip is someone tripping on the door and burning themselves, especially children. So, make sure you are aware of when the door is open and watchful of any small children in the kitchen area.

5. Wash on Cold!

In the winter, you usually wear more layers, which means you are usually washing more clothes. Try  to wash the majority of your clothes on cold.

According to, 90 percent of the energy we use to wash our clothes is used to heat the water. So, if you wash 80 percent of your clothes with cold water, you will save 72 pounds of CO2 emissions in one month!

Well, there you have it. Five new tricks to keep your home green and your bank happy. Take a chance and try at least one. It does wonders for the environment, and it may give you that extra bit of money for that thing you have been eyeing at the mall! Enjoy!

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