How-to: Stay warm this winter with less impact
By CG Lifestyles & People Editor Neal Patten
The cold weather snuck up fast. One afternoon college green was swathed in tank tops and flip-flops, the next beanies and sweatshirts. Whether you currently reside in a dorm room or have your own place, you have likely already cranked up the heat. Keeping your living space heated takes a significant amount of power, which in turn takes a significant toll on the environment. Icicles hanging from your ceiling are not the answer, but taking a few extra steps to insulate your abode can really lessen your impact.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Cover your windows in plastic wrap. Believe it or not, this extra layer will be a big boost in keeping the cold out. First clean your window to remove any dirt that may impede adhesiveness. Apply the shrink-wrap across your glass window, extending slightly beyond the window frame. Tape the outer edges to secure the wrap in place. Use a blow dryer to seal the plastic onto your windowpanes.
2. The ideal range for your thermostat is the mid to high 60’s – 68 degrees is often touted as the golden number. Also, research has shown for every degree you dial back the thermostat you save up to three percent on your energy bills. Also, consider turning the thermostat back at bedtime. You may be cold right before bed, but you will not need as much heat to be comfortable while sleeping and can just cuddle up under an extra blanket or two.
3. Wear layers! It is rather silly to be walking around the house in shorts and a t-shirt with the heat cranked up to 72 when you could just turn it back a few degrees and pull on a sweater.
4. Buy an electric blanket. Electric blankets zap way less energy than your central heating system.
5. Buy a door snake, or roll up a towel. A lot of heat escapes through the thin space underneath doorframes. To keep your room toasty, block that space with a ‘snake’ (a fabric tube filled with rice or sand) or tightly roll a towel and shove it into the crevice.
6. Use a rug. If you turned up the heat because your toes are cold, laying down a carpet or rug is much more sensible.
7. Thick curtains are another great way to keep the cold out and the heat in.
8. Be aware of where your vents are. You may have covered up an essential heating grate with furniture, a poster, or a tapestry and not even have known.
9. Share study space. If you know you have a long study night ahead and so do friends, study at one house or dorm room and collectively bask in the warmth of a heater. Or study in a public space such as a coffee house or the library where the heat is always on, regardless of who is there to enjoy it. Leave your own heater cut back until you return.