How To Heat Your Home Sustainably
As we move further into the cold, winter months we all know how difficult it can be to get out of bed to a freezing cold house each morning. But heating a home takes a lot of energy—5-10% more for each extra degree, to be specific—and that’s not good for the environment or your utility bill. So, if you’re looking to warm up your home without adding to your carbon footprint, what are your options?
Efficient use of the home
No matter what heating method you use, it’s important to use your home efficiently. This can be as simple as closing doors and windows to stop heat from escaping. For best usage, though, there are a few more things that can be done. Ensure all external doors and windows are well-sealed, and place draught stoppers anywhere cold air could be sneaking in. Placing heavy curtains over windows will also reduce this issue. Then, it’s all a matter of timing. When sunlight is coming through a window, open the curtains to let the warmth inside, and close them again when the sun is gone. When you do need to switch on a heating system, only heat the areas you use most and, if possible, try to spend more time in smaller rooms that will take much less energy to heat up.
Upgrade your home
If you’re in the position to make some major upgrades to your home, you can set yourself up for all future winters, too. Installing solar panels (or getting some other form of renewable energy) is the best way to continue using your current heating system while reducing your environmental impact. Alternatively, install a wood burner—these days there are plenty of good, efficient options—or re-insulate your home with new, upgraded insulation. These will require upfront investments but will likely be worth it in the long term.
This doesn’t mean you need to put on all your jumpers and jackets before you consider turning on the heating, but there’s no reason you need to be able to wear a t-shirt and shorts around the house either. If all you need to do to feel warmer is pop on some tracksuit pants and a jumper, you could save yourself a lot of money in heating costs.
The materials you have throughout your home can impact how well it retains heat. Heavy curtains can help prevent the cold from getting inside, but thick, plush materials can also help to hold heat within the room. Try putting a thick, fluffy rug on the floor to protect your feet against the cold flooring and hold more heat. Similarly, tapestries can be hung to add an extra layer of insulation on the walls. At night, make sure you have a thick, warm doona and even keep cozy throws elsewhere in the house. To reduce your environmental impact even further, consider choosing sustainably made textiles, like Loop Home’s organic cotton bedding.
ExerciseIf all else fails, the next best option is to embrace the cold and get your body moving out in nature. This is because exercise naturally increases body temperature. Consider going outside for a jog or, if it’s too cold for that, go to the gym or set up some equipment at home. Your body temperature will return to normal after you’ve exercised, but it will be more gradual than when you get out of bed and the cold may not seem as bad.