As winter approaches, you might be spending more money to stay warm. Here are some tips from the Environmental Center (E-Center) for saving money and energy this winter wherever you live.
Keep your space warm
As the temperatures drop, we may want to increase our thermostats. To help keep your living space warm and energy efficient, make sure furniture, rugs, and clothing don’t block air ducts and heat vents.
If you live on campus, ask your RA or see the Heating and Cooling webpage to learn more about your residence’s heating system (each residence is different). Depending on your room, you may need to keep your windows closed during the winter months to avoid overloading the heating system. If you notice any heating issues in your room, be sure to submit a Fix-It request.
If you live off campus, now is a great time to learn how your heating system works. Electric baseboard heaters and forced air furnaces are the most common types of heating in Boulder, but other systems exist. Consider taking some maintenance measures, such as changing furnace filters and cleaning radiators. You may also want to seal the windows in your living space to increase the energy efficiency of your heating system.
If you also pay your own energy bills, paying attention to ways to limit energy use can avoid a costly surprise on your utility bill over the next few months.
To save money and become more energy efficient, sign up for a free EcoKit through the E-Center! EcoKits are available whether you live in halls of residence or off campus, and contain information and materials for saving energy where you live. The kits can be delivered or come to the E-Center (UMC 355) to discuss with the staff how to get the most out of your EcoKit.
Adjust the thermostat
Save energy and money on utilities by lowering your thermostat when you’re away from home. If you live off campus, an easy way to do this is to use a programmable thermostat. If you don’t already have one, ask your property manager or consider investing in one. They can often pay for themselves in energy savings. When you are at home, close rooms that are not in use to concentrate heat only in the spaces you are currently using. Avoid setting the temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter so your pipes do not freeze.
Enjoy the sunniest hours of the day in Colorado. Open your curtains and blinds to let in the sunlight that will naturally warm your living space. It also adds light so you can save even more by needing fewer lights. Make these practices a habit and you’ll be living greener in no time.
Buy second-hand winter clothes
You may need winter gear like jackets, sweaters, and winter boots. Save money by buying from thrift stores or online second-hand stores like OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace. If you choose to purchase items from an online seller, use the on-campus secure online exchange area to complete your transaction.
Buying second-hand items not only saves you money, but also recycles usable material, reusing what would have gone to landfill. Buying second-hand instead of new also reduces the amount of new things to be made, thereby reducing the amount of pollutants created by clothing manufacturers.
Use energy efficient light bulbs
With fewer hours of daylight, you might be turning on more lamps. Using energy efficient light bulbs is a small investment that can lead to big savings, both on energy use and on your budget. Check the type of bulbs you are currently using and consider replacing them with more efficient bulbs. Energy efficient lights also last longer than other lights, saving you money and trips to the store.
To learn more about how you can save money and energy by greening your living space, check out the resources offered by the E-Center. Stop by their office or visit their website for more information on a more sustainable lifestyle. If you haven’t already, take the Sustainable Buffs pledge and join the community committed to living sustainably.