Can you cut 1 Tonne of carbon pollution out of your life?Take the challenge
This winter the aim is to avoid using central heating as much as possible.
Focus on keeping the cold out through effective insulation and keeping yourself warm, rather than keeping every empty room in the house warm.
Here are 8 low-cost, energy efficient ideas for keeping warm this winter:
1. Window film insulators : hardware stores usually stock a range of removable window film insulators. Similar to plastic 'contact' used to cover on school books, window film insulators add a clear layer to your windows and can make a huge difference.
Check out EnerLogic Window Film, which have been awarded Gold Plus Global Green Tag Certification. They claim to be 4 times more effective than regular window films and have an average annual insulation improvement of 92% compared to the same glass without EnerLogic.
2. Rubber backed curtains are a really effective way to insulate windows and you can usually find these at op-shops or on eBay for a reasonable price. It's also worth hanging curtains or blankets in open door frames or hallway entrances. Many open-plan homes don't have barriers between certain rooms, which makes it difficult to keep heat in an enclosed space. Simply tacking a blanket or curtain to the top of the door frame will temporarily solve the problem.
3. A good ol' fashioned door snake. Door snakes are such a simple way to stop cold draughts in their tracks. They're cheap to buy and easy to find online, but if you need a quick fix right now - you can run a towel along the bottom of a door for a makeshift draught stopper.
[image from Engaging Toddler Activities]
5. Adhesive backed foam or self adhesive foam tape is perfect for sealing any gaps around doors and windows. It's available at most hardware stores and is usually sold by the metre.
When hunting down the origin of those sneaky draughts around your home, check for these dead giveaways - Do windows close properly, or are they rattly? Can you see a rim of light peeking around your door frame when it's closed? Use your fingers around any gaps to check for hidden draughts.
6. Put an extra blanket under your bottom sheet so it forms an insulating barrier between you and your mattress. Even if you have a mattress topper, the extra blanket will add another level of warmth. Wool is best because the thick fibres are naturally insulating.
7. Hot water bottle or a rice bag/wheat bag - boiling up some water for your hot water bottle or heating a rice/wheat bag in the microwave uses a fraction of the energy of heating your whole room with a heater. There's also nothing cosier than snuggling up to a hot water bottle. You can't exactly snuggle up to your electric heater.
[image from Not on the High Street]
8. Do some push ups or squat jumps! Don't forget that our bodies can generate heat without any external assistance. Physical activity is the simplest, cheapest and most eco-friendly way to warm your body. I'm a strong advocate of doing this anywhere, anytime. Whether it's in front of the TV with your whole family exchanging confused looks behind you, or in the middle of a crowded mid-winter festival (I'm speaking from first-hand experience here), a bit of fly-kicking and arm-flailing will heat up your entire body more than anything else.
Heating and cooling are one of the major sources of emissions in most homes and not only waste energy, but money too. By doing simple things like draught proofing your home you can reduce your energy use by 25-50%
[header image from Shutterstock]
What you can do
Dress For The Weather... Hot Or Cold
Don’t just dress the same at home all year and turn up the air conditioner when you need to cool down or the heater when you need to warm up.