Hello again! Hope you’ve all had a wonderful winter break, and are getting settled back into your busy McGill schedules. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but it’s been kiiiiind of cold here lately (maybe its just because I’m from the west coast), so I want to share with you some ways that you can keep toasty while reducing your energy consumption during this cold snap (bonus: you save on your hydro bill too!). Whether you’re living in residence, an apartment, or home with your family, here are a few tips you can do to save energy this winter:
1. Bundle Up:
Before reaching for that thermostat, the easiest way to prevent excess energy usage is to simply put on your warmest sweaters, sweats and socks and use your body’s own heat. Keep your thermostat a couple of degrees below where you would normally feel comfortable (sorry, no more walking around in your underwear) and bundle up warm.
You can lose an incredible amount of heat through windows and doors that aren’t properly insulated, so if you feel like this is a big issue, speak with your landlord or look at getting storm windows installed. For a more DIY approach, you can try these things:
a) Putting up thicker curtains: there are specific thermal curtains sold for this purpose, either as an addition to currently existing ones you may have, or as separate units. This may compromise your light during the day, but it’s a fairly easy alternative if you already have curtain rods installed.
b) Using window insulation film: $15-40 from any hardware store, easy to install yourself, an extra barrier between you and the winter!
c) Draft snakes: placed at the bottom of your doors and windows, these, or a rolled up towel, can block leaks of cold air infiltrating your home. You can buy them from a hardware store or check out this link on how to make them!
d) Throw down a rug: this can reduce heat loss through the floor and will keep your feet nice and warm.
3. Unblock Heat Sources
Make sure all heating vents/radiators are clear so your furnace can work more efficiently. It is also a fire hazard if they’re covered!
4. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat:
Programmable thermostats allow you to automatically turn down your heat at night or when you’re out at school so that you maximize your energy use when you need it. For only about $40-$50, they are a worthwhile investment, and it will pay for itself in the money you save from your hydro bill!
5. Take Advantage of the Heat From Sunlight
Open all those south facing blinds and bask in the sunlight! Allow the heat to warm your house by making sure those windows which receive a lot of light are squeaky clean and unobstructed. Close the curtains and blinds at night to retain heat.
6. Tea, Coffee, or Hot Chocolate
My go-to for any problem. If you’re feeling cold at home, grab a cup and warm yourself from the inside out. Who doesn’t love a good mug of tea when everyone else is scurrying about in the -20 degree weather actually going to class? I’d rather just curl up in my blankets and call it a day.
Thanks for reading! If you have any more tips to share, please leave a comment. Happy energy-saving!