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Going Green: Winter Warmth

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Did you know that heating and cooling contributes to 48 percent of energy usage in a typical U.S. household? As we venture into the winter months, temperatures are dropping meaning more of us are turning up the heaters. Being green in the cold is just as important as in the summer months, and a few small changes in your daily habits can make a big impact on the environment. Do you know how to keep warm while being green? Test your knowledge! True or False:
  1. Using a programmable thermostat, like the Nest, will help reduce your energy usage and lower your bill.
  2. Salt is the best option for deicing driveways and walkways in the winter.
  3. As much as 25 percent of heat loss is the result of leaky windows.
  4. Sealing leaks and cracks in the walls doesn’t make much of a difference.
Answers:
  1. True. Reducing the temperature by 10 - 15 percent for just eight hours a day will reduce your bill by about 10 percent. Set your thermostat to a lower temperature while you’re out of the house to help cut back.
  2. False. Salt is harmful to vegetation and erodes surfaces like driveways. Avoid using chemicals that will pollute soil and water. Natural alternatives such as sand, clay cat litter, or ashes from your fireplace work just as well and prevent harmful chemicals from soaking into the ground.
  3. True. Simply closing curtains and blinds and sealing your windows during the winter can help cut back on the heat loss from windows.
  4. False. Any leak or crack in your home will let the warm air out and the cold leak in! Look for leaks around vents, plugs, switches, and doors.
Other habits you can practice include closing the doors to unused rooms, wearing extra layers around the house, and using towels or blankets to plug drafts from other rooms or windows. These small changes will make your winter much warmer and greener this year. How do you stay green in the winter?  Let us know by commenting below.  DING!  You are now free to be Green!