Worldwatch sustainable living blog by Aaron Schwarze and Gaelle Gourmelon
Cold winds are howling. Nights are getting longer. Are energy monsters creeping into your house? This Halloween, kick them out while preventing terrifyingly high power bills. Read these money-saving tips, and keep your home monster-free and energy-happy.
- VAMPIRES (and the cold) HATE SUNLIGHT
Opening your curtains on your south-facing windows during the day is a great way to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. The extra warmth enables you to rely less on natural gas or electricity for heating. Plus, vampires hate sunlight, so that’s an easy fix. Don’t forget to close your curtains at night, though, to keep drafts (and spirits) out.
Did you know? Up to 40 percent of the heat escaping from your home in the colder seasons is from uncovered windows.
- GOBLINS (and high power bills) ARE DRAWN TO LIGHT
As the days get shorter, you’ll turn your lights on earlier in the evenings. Unfortunately, that’s an invitation for sneaky goblins and hair-raising power bills. So, turn off the lights when you don’t need them. Also, look for energy-efficient light-emitting diodes—or “LEDs”—when you shop for bulbs, including holiday light strings to decorate your home for the coming holidays. Can’t find LEDs? Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are another energy-saving alternative.
Did you know? LED and CFL light bulbs use less than a quarter of the electricity of conventional incandescent light bulbs and last 8–40 times longer. Despite their higher price, CFLs and LEDs can lower your electricity bill for lighting by nearly 75 percent.
- SWAMP CREATURES (and energy waste) LOVE HOT WATER
Swamp creatures love scalding hot water. You probably don’t. Switch your water heater from 140 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to save as much as $46 a year. Not only will you send the swamp creatures packing, you’ll save money for candy treats.
- ZOMBIES (and your thermostat) WANT YOUR BRAIN
If you put a little bit of thought into it, saving energy is easy. Lower the setting of the thermostat to a comfortable 68 degrees when you are home. Use your brain and remember to lower the temperature (but don’t let your water pipes freeze!) when you leave home or go to bed. Zombies don’t produce body heat like you do, so they’ll soon be heading out.
Did you know? Turning down the thermostat 10–15 degrees for eight hours a day can save you up to 15 percent on your heating bill.
- GHOSTS (and drafts) CAN FIT THROUGH SMALL GAPS
When you notice a draft or a cold spot in your home, it’s time to act! Ghosts can squeeze through the smallest of cracks, and so can heat. Buy low-expanding foam to fill gaps or weak spots in old insulation and door sweeps to close gaps under doors. These adjustments take only a few dollars and a little bit of time, yet they work wonders. Remember, your attic door can be responsible for up to 15 percent of your home’s heat loss (and for those eerie creaking sounds), so don’t forget to check it, too.
Did you know? Reducing air leaks could cut 10 percent from an average household’s monthly energy bill.
TAKE THE EXTRA STEP!
Want to get rid of even the smallest gremlin, all while saving even more money? Have your home checked by an energy auditor. Schedule a room-by-room examination of your home by finding an auditor near you. An infrared thermographic scan may even detect any remaining monsters in your closets.
Monsters are often uninvited house guests, and so is energy waste. Following these tips can free your home from spooky creatures and save you loads on your power bill. It’s so easy, it’s scary!
Aaron Schwarze was an intern at the Worldwatch Institute. He is a student at the Technical University Berlin studying environmental engineering in Germany. Gaelle Gourmelon is the Communications and Marketing Manager at Worldwatch.