It’s difficult to think of anything but being cold during the winter season, and thoughts of living sustainably may fall to the wayside. Since using up resources to stay warm during the winter can affect the environment around us, we’d like to share some easy ways for you to reduce that carbon footprint!
Did you know that home heating and cooling accounts for approximately 65% of all energy consumption in Canada? Household electricity and heat generation also accounts for 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why it’s important that you keep an eye on your thermostat, for both the environment and your electric bill’s sake.
Making small changes in how you handle the winter chills can make a huge difference for you and for the earth.
So what can you do?
1. Moderate Energy Use
This is the easiest tip to start implementing.
When you leave your home, lowering your thermostat a degree or two will lower your energy usage more than you would imagine! You may even notice it on your next bill…
An even easier way to handle this would be to get an automatic thermostat. It may cost a little more up front but can save you 10-30% on your total energy costs while making your home more eco-friendly.
Go on, this article isn’t going anywhere. You can come back after you’ve reset the thermostat.
Bonus Tip: Try cooking more often at home. You’ll be able to cut down on waste, and more importantly, spread heat from the kitchen to the rest of the house. Try it sometime!
There are plenty of ways to keep your house naturally cold-proof without having to call in external help. Some simple ways to do this include:
- Covering the floors with rugs and carpets wherever you can.
- Letting in sunlight during the day to warm your house naturally, while keeping windows covered with curtains at night to minimize heat loss.
- Putting the fan on reverse (if possible) to keep air drafts from helping the heat escape.
- You can even take this a step further by doing some small DIY insulation projects on your own. Some of our favorite ways include: using weatherproofing strips and caulking to seal up cracks in your doors and windows; covering the bottom of your door with a line of old socks; and using thicker curtains for your windows.
Out and About:
1. Dress Consciously
It goes without saying that in the face of negative degree weather, you need to have at least one good winter coat.
One thing you can do is make sure your coat has been sourced ethically. Fast fashion is detrimental to the environment and wastes a huge amount of resources.
- When shopping, be on the lookout for brands that use sustainable and/or vegan fabrics. PETA has a list of brands that use vegan down if you’re unsure. The same list also mentions bamboo, which is a great eco-friendly fabric in general. Other sustainable (and warm) fabric alternatives to cotton include hemp and linen. When it comes to the outer layer, aim to get biodegradable fibers or recycled synthetics.
- Look for eco-friendly certifications like Fair Trade, OEKO-TEX and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) that indicate that the garment has been produced in an ethical manner.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to go second-hand. Second-hand clothing requires no extra resources and is often more cost-effective. Thrift stores, online stores and community swap groups are all great ways to source reused clothing that doesn’t need to end up in a landfill.
Try to keep reusing your coat for as long as you can. If you can no longer hold on to it, don’t throw it away. Instead, donate it, or give it to someone who’d love it. After all, the holiday season is all about giving!
2. Public Transportation
Try getting on the public transport bandwagon. A study conducted by ICF International showed that taking public transit can reduce the total amount of individual fuel use by up to 947 million gallons.
You can contribute to that too. By sharing warmth and resource consumption with other people, you’ll be cutting down on overall carbon emissions and energy usage. Plus, if you’re going by subway, you won’t have to deal with traffic!
3. Travel Mugs
A cup of joe keeps the morning chills away!
And what better way than by keeping it in a reusable travel mug? There are several types of bottles available for you, many of which can keep your drinks warm for hours. This way, you get to reduce plastic waste and use. We have a great bamboo tumbler made from bamboo that can keep your drinks warm or cold for us to 10 hours, plus it’s leak proof so you can throw it into your bag without a worry.