Wildly popular HBO and fantasy novel series Game of Thrones has given us all a slogan when the colder months roll in: “Brace yourself. Winter is coming.” Considering how high your heating bill may get during the winter, you may feel like you need to brace yourself for an onslaught. However, there are things you can do to save money.
Additionally, saving money on your heating bill this winter can also help to save the environment. Using alternative building materials and energy sources are better for the earth than chewing through non-renewable resources. So not only are you saving your budget, you’re saving the world.
The steps you can take are simple and approachable, usually only requiring a few phone calls or one installation. In order to reduce our carbon footprint and keep the earth inhabitable longer, we should all be aiming to do a little better for our world. Here are a few things you can do to save energy and the environment this winter:
Use Alternative Bamboo in Your Home or Business
The environmental impact of using traditional building materials like timber or stone can be quite high. In recent years, recycled materials have become more and more readily available for building, helping to reduce that impact. Additionally, other resources have been tapped into.
One example of this is bamboo. By growing bamboo, we reduce the rate of deforestation around the world while also contributing to better soil quality, because bamboo doesn’t destroy soil while it’s grown. Bamboo is also inherently biodegradable, so objects made from it won’t sit in landfills for long amounts of time.
It might not seem like a huge deal to install bamboo flooring instead of other types of flooring, but taking one step toward a better environment overall is better than no steps. You can show off your beautiful home or office, and then tell your friends how much faster bamboo resources regenerate compared to trees. Then you can remind them that we don’t exactly also need bamboo groves to provide oxygen for the entire planet — but we sure do need trees.
A good place to tap into the eco-friendly nature of bamboo for buildings is by installing flooring. In place of getting hardwood floors for your home or business, you can get bamboo flooring. It has a competitive hardness scale in comparison to other types of wood and lasts just as long in high-traffic areas.
Prepare for the Winter
Instead of immediately reaching to crank up the thermostat this winter, you should take a few steps to best insulate and prepare your house for cold weather. These can be as simple as reversing your ceiling fans or leaving the oven open after baking. They can also be a little more thorough.
One investment worth making is small coverings to block drafts. You can get small floor pillows at most general or hardware stores in your hometown that you can put along window sills or door jams. Drafts are the main cause of skyrocketing energy costs, so putting something to block hot air leaking out of your house can be a huge asset to your budget.
You can also be proactive before the winter months by installing double-pane glass in your windows. This can reduce your energy costs by up to 24 percent in cold months because it better seals heat into your home. You’ll be able to watch the snow outside without ever feeling a chill from the window!
It can also be helpful to talk with your family about ways to stay warm that don’t involve cranking the heat. Make plans to have a family fireplace night, where you can roast marshmallows and tell stories to one another. You can also remind your children to put on a sweater first before asking to turn the heat up — sometimes snuggling in a sweater is nicer anyway.
Invest in Alternative Energy Sources
Despite what you may have heard, alternative energy sources are reliable and affordable ways to get energy for your home while helping the planet. You can enjoy your home, staying cozy in the winter, while knowing that you’re contributing to the growth of an energy source with longevity — something that not every resource has. Fossil fuels are non-renewable, while wind-powered turbines will run so long as air patterns continue to move.
The best way to get started using alternative energy sources in your home is to call your local power company. Some states have programs where if you sign up for renewable energy sources, you’ll get a discount on your bill. In other places, you get perks like a stable bill throughout the year.
Regardless of the bonuses, investing in renewable energy is a step toward investing in the earth.You’ll also be investing in your savings by keeping your bill down during the cold winter months. By saving the world and your budget, you can take your family on an exciting vacation adventure once the sun comes back out — and that’s a win-win.