Posted by Scott Cooney on December 17, 2012
By now most Green Living Ideas readers know the value of home insulation, but for those new to the green lifestyle, insulation is like an extra blanket on your bed in the winter. Except for houses, the insulation can help keep in cooler air in the summer and warmer air in the winter.
Pointing out how much energy is wasted through inadequate insulation, Paul Hawken, author of Natural Capitalism, famously said there’s more energy in the attics of homes in America than in entirety of Alaskan oil reserves. It’s one of the best investments most homeowners can make in terms of energy savings. But given a variety of factors, many people do not adequately insulate their homes, and end up spending more money heating and cooling the inefficient space than they would on the insulation job.
So where to begin?
The first thing to do is to look at your heating and cooling bill. Tack it up somewhere publicly, so everyone in the home is aware that it’s costing you a lot of money that might be better spent somewhere else…maybe on their green holiday gifts! Then get everyone aware and working on the easy habits that will save you money and help cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- Close doors and windows when you’re losing heat (or cool air) through them. If you want to air the place out, wait until the temperature outside matches the temperature inside as much as possible. If air quality is a concern, consider an air filter or indoor plants that help clean the air rather than airing the place out in the middle of winter.
- Adjust the thermostat. Dropping a degree or two likely won’t change your in-home experience much, and it will have a noticeable effect on your bill. Just be sure to check with your wife first. And maybe buy her a really nice organic wool sweater.
- Match your cooking with the weather. There’s a lot of reasons that BBQ’s are popular in the summer. One little known one is that if you run a BBQ in your air-conditioned house, you’re creating a lot of heat and making your A/C work harder than it has to. Same goes for baking, crock pots, and any other cooking style that can release a lot of heat. In the summer, maybe eat more raw foods (here’s a.....