Now more than ever it’s a good idea to start being conscious about the environment. The news has been plagued recently with bleak stories about just how bad the environmental crisis has become, such as the troubling revelation that humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970. It’s very clear that more needs to be done, and thankfully, a lot of people agree. Environmentally friendly initiatives have been gathering serious momentum, and it’s not just serious activists getting involved, but the average person, too.
With that in mind, we want to help make being environmentally friendly a little bit easier. As winter settles in, it will be harder and harder for people to find the drive to put the environment first. The coming cold will mean most of us will want to ramp up the heating and shiver in our cars when we would have otherwise travelled on foot. But for those who still want to make a conscious effort to live in an environmentally friendly way, here are some tips for how to achieve this during winter.
1. Add Some Rugs
As chic as that wooden flooring might look in your home or in your place of work, it certainly isn’t going to be doing much for the cold problem. A lot of heat from the home can be lost through floorboards, 10% in fact, according to the National Energy Foundation. This is especially true if the floor is uninsulated. Rugs are a great quick fix, if you don’t have the time to get around to getting insulation installed. They can stop some of the heat escaping through the floor, keeping it warmer for longer. Alternatively, if you have the means to do so, you could get a carpet. Carpeting is a much more heat efficient flooring option than wood or laminate.
2. Fix Those Draughts
If your home or place of work is suffering from any nasty draughts, this is going to have a seriously adverse effect in winter. While there might be a temptation to crank the heating up to combat the breeze, a more eloquent (and environmentally sound) solution is to stop the draughts at their source.
Gaps in doors, windows and floors can let cold air in and warm air out. You can identify draughts by using the back of your hand to feel for a breeze, or by using a piece of paper. When you’ve located the source, you can install a draught excluder. For a DIY excluder, you can use rolled up blankets for the bottom gaps of doors.
3. Use Non-Toxic De-Icer
As winter takes hold, so too will the frost on your windscreen. It creates a bit of a Catch-22 scenario for the environment: the most popular options are either using some de-icer, which contains harmful chemicals that can be damaging to the environment, or sit in the car with the heating on max for ten minutes, using up fuel.
The best solution is to invest in some non-toxic de-icer, specifically designed to be safe for the environment – usually marketed as pet-safe de-icer. You should be able to buy these online; alternatively, you can find natural recipes for window de-icer, using ingredients such as white vinegar.
4. Get Crafty this Christmas
Christmas is arguably one of the most tumultuous times of year for the environment, with millions of people travelling across the country to see their families, the pine trees being chopped down (or artificial plastic trees being dumped), and reams and reams of discarded wrapping paper.
Thankfully, there are ways to have a sustainable Christmas, such as sourcing your Christmas tree from eco-friendly tree growers and recycling it at the end of the season; you could even buy a tree planted in a pot, so it can be re-planted again once Christmas is over. You can also buy recycled wrapping paper from the likes of charity shops (or even save this years’ wrapping paper for next year). Eco-friendly gifts can be bought online, or you could consider crafting home-made gifts for your loved ones. They will appreciate the effort you put in to their gift, and the environment will thank you for it, too.
5. Only Heat Rooms Being Used
Whether at home or in the work place, you gain absolutely nothing by heating rooms that are not in use. If there are rooms that aren’t being used or won’t be used for many hours at a time, turn off the radiators in these rooms and keep the door closed to prevent cold air from escaping and circulating into occupied spaces.
6. Don’t Give Up on the Bus
The temptation to drive everywhere during winter is strong. However, if you walk or take the bus to work throughout most of the year, you should try your hardest not to get out of this habit. Just think about how many harmful chemicals are being released every year by the thousands of people who switch to driving their cars to avoid the cold. Try to save car journeys for only those truly awful winter days and stick to your normal routine as much as possible. If you wrap up sufficiently warm you will be able to brace the walk or bus journey, and you’ll avoid getting stuck in rush hour traffic, too.
7. Get the Heater Serviced
An old, non-efficient heater does no one any good in winter. If you own a business, you have a responsibility to keep your employees working conditions at a reasonable temperature. Unreliable heaters are liable to break unexpectedly, and winter is the worse possible time of year for this to happen. Heaters should be serviced annually to ensure they are working properly. Well-maintained heaters are also much more energy efficient. If you’re looking for commercial heating systems, contact Heritage Heating and Cooling today to find out about our services.