Going Green in Winter – Focus on Energy Use and Water

Prepared by the Eco-Justice Committee

How to Reconcile with the Earth in How we Use Energy

At Home:
Did you get a new snuggly sweater or sweatshirt for Christmas?  Wearing layers including that sweater or sweatshirt inside will enable you to keep your heat down and you’ll look great also!

  1. Watch your house temperatures. Programmable thermostats are very affordable. Consider installing one and using it to set the temperature lower during the day and at night. When out of your home for a prolonged time—out of town or vacation—adjust your thermostat.
  2. Add moisture to the air using a humidifier (humid air feels warmer than dry air). Humidifiers come in many sizes and prices. You might also put bowls of water and/or houseplants in a room to add moisture to it.
  3. Wear your warm, fun sweaters. More layers inside to keep the heat down.
  4. Be sure home insulation, seals around doors & windows, etc. are secure and well-functioning.
  5. Seal windows with plastic film found at a hardware store
  6. Do an energy audit at the turn of the seasons. Check with your power company for tips and resources to get started
  7. Always turn out lights when leaving a room—unless someone else is there.
  8. Use compact fluorescent or the new LED lights.
  9. When replacing appliances, look for “Energy Star” items which are rated to use less power.
  10. Shut doors to unoccupied rooms.
  11. Use drapes/blinds on windows to let in the sun in winter; also use to insulate windows in winter.
  12. When using electronic devices power off to conserve batteries when not in use; if items are plugged in, use a power strip or shut off completely when not in use— avoid “stand-by” mode that continues to use electricity.

Advocating for The Earth:

  1. Take a look at your investment portfolio. Remove any companies that are considered fossil fuel stocks. For more information, check out The Carbon Underground 200. It is a listing of the top 100 public coal companies globally and the top 100 public oil and gas companies globally, ranked by the potential carbon emissions content of their reported reserves. The list is produced and maintained by Fossil Free Indexes, LLC. (https://gofossilfree.org/top-200/)
  2. You might also consider doing Socially Responsible Investing in which the fund managers screen companies based on their investing principles. ESG, or environmental, social and governance, investing considers the impact of a company’s environmental, social and governance practices on its financial performance. ESG rankings give companies with more sustainable environmental, social and governance policies higher scores. (From U.S.News & World Report): https://money.usnews.com/investing/investing-101/articles/how-to-be-a-smarter-responsible-investor

How to Reconcile with the Earth in How we Use Water

  1. Consumer products are an often-overlooked source of water use, accounting for up to a third of most people’s water footprint. Buying less of everything—from clothing to electronics to household goods—can dramatically decrease your water footprint.
  2. Each time you use water remember what a sacred gift it is—and how millions throughout the world have no access to clean water. Be grateful and careful.
  3. Instead of running water from the tap until it is cold enough to drink, keep a jug of water in your refrigerator
  4. Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  5. Instead of buying bottled water, buy a metal or plastic water bottle, fill it from the tap and keep it in the refrigerator to use for outings.
  6. Save water that you run—eg. While waiting for it to warm up—in a bucket and water plants or use for something else later
  7. Insulate hot water pipes where possible to avoid long delays (and wasted water) while waiting for the water to “run hot.”
  8. Install a low-flow faucet aerator, which can cut water use in half
  9. Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting
  10. Look for products bearing the EPA WaterSense Label for items that been certified to save 20% or more without sacrificing performance
  11. Report (or fix if you can) broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property owner or your water provider
  12. Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save water and prevent damage to your home
  13. Take shorter showers
  14. Turn off water while brushing teeth
  15. Use disposal sparingly
  16. Only do full loads of laundry and dirty dishes

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

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