How to stay warm while being green

April 23, 2015

How to stay warm while being green

None of us wants to be cold, during winter; but none of us want to be destructive to the environment either. That concern, of not wanting to harm the planet while still trying to achieve goals linked to comfort and security has been the central focus for all sustainable movements, though.

This is such a serious issue that Scientific American had its own report on the matter. For example, consider how lighting works: “Artificial night lighting doesn’t just spoil star shows; it can confuse nocturnal animals and waste energy.”

They offer the following tips.

“Choose the lowest possible wattage. A 40-watt incandescent bulb (or a nine- to 13-watt compact fluorescent lamp) is sufficient for most outdoor uses.

“Add shielding that points the light downward for any source brighter than a 100-watt incandescent.

“For security applications, use motion-sensor lights; they save energy and also draw attention to intruders.”

They even took into account the purchasing of artificial Christmas Trees, but they advise against this: “Real trees are renewable, recyclable and biodegradable. To keep your carbon footprint to a minimum, look for trees that are grown organically and as close to home as possible.”

There are many other ways to keep energy down while still being warm. For example, you could manage your thermostat properly – either manually or using a programmable thermostat. This means it doesn’t need to be operating while you’re away from home.

Some might think it applies to geysers – however, as engineer Arnold Theron notes, this is not actually the case.

“The fact is that in a properly insulated geyser the heat energy is well contained and the only possible source [of] loss is the tiny amount that escapes the insulation during the day. While the geyser is on during the day and no water is consumed, a small amount of electricity is used to replace this heat loss – the thermostat typically switches on for two minutes once every two hours.”

Indeed, Theron notes that turning off the geyser means it can take longer for the water to get hot again; meaning you use more electricity.

There are obvious other ways that we use no electricity or other resources, such as blankets and warm clothes. Keeping your house properly insulated, using gas heaters – instead of electric – and keeping doors and windows closed, all have an impact. These are just some ways we can stay warm, without badly wasting energy and damaging the environment. 

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