The winter can be as hard on the environment as they are on your pocket-book. Despite Phoenix, Arizona mild climate, the nights do get chilly, and heating costs can be a concern. Sometimes, heating expenses even cause stress around the holidays, when you don’t need any more than you already have, and when you may be thinking about how to give back.
Here are some tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint and save money during the colder months.
Use Window Coverings
Windows are one of the major heat loss locations in your home, but they can also help you save energy. Heat retaining window coverings, used wisely, can allow nature itself to help. The trick is to open your windows during the day to let light and heat in, then close them at night to retain warmth. Heat blocking curtains are a good choice, but so are functional shutters made of insulative materials.
Use a Humidifier
One little-known trick to reducing energy costs during the colder months is to use a humidifier. Higher relative humidity allows you to feel comfortable at lower temperatures, which means you can turn the thermostat down without feeling like you’re freezing.
If you have kids or small pets, a cool mist humidifier may be your best choice, while households with adults or those who have breathing problems might do better with a warm mist design. As side benefits, humidity in the air helps trap cold and flu viruses (so you won’t get sick) and helps prevent sinus problems, especially during dry, cold nights.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and likely more effective than using an expensive contraption or buying shutters in Phoenix. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to heat your home if you aren’t there, or if you’re snuggled and cozy in bed under a winter comforter.
A programmable thermostat allows you to turn down the heat when you don’t need it, without having to get up or come home to a chilly house. Pipes freezing aren’t a major concern in Phoenix, but you’ll want to set your thermostat no lower than 60 if the weather is supposed to drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Pet owners will also want to make sure their furry friends have a blanket-lined crate or other warm place to snuggle up in while the humans are gone.
Composting relieves a lot of pressure on the environment by reducing the amount of methane-producing food waste that ends up in landfills. You may not think you can compost during the winter, but you can.
During mild weather, you can still keep an outdoor compost heap going. Not enough yard space or it’s too cold out? There are now indoor compost bins available. These have tight-fitting lids that hold in fumes, so you won’t stink up your kitchen while you’re helping the earth.