As winter approaches, you may spend more money on keeping 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 cool down, we may want to turn our thermostats up. To help keep your living space warm and energy use low, make sure furniture, rugs and clothing are not blocking air ducts and heat vents.
If you live on campus, ask your RA or check the heating and cooling webpage to learn about the heating system in your residence hall (each hall is different). Depending on your hall, 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 heat and forced air furnaces are the most common types of space heating in Boulder, but other systems are out there. Consider taking some maintenance steps, such as changing furnace filters and cleaning off radiators. You may also want to seal the windows in your living space to increase energy efficiency for your heating system.
If you also pay your own energy bills, paying attention to ways you can limit energy usage can prevent an expensive surprise in your utility bill in 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 the residence halls or off campus, and have information and items for saving energy where you live. Kits can be delivered, or stop by the E-Center (UMC 355) to talk to staff about getting the most out of your EcoKit.
Adjust the thermostat
Save energy and money on utilities by lowering your thermostat when you aren’t home. If you live off campus, an easy way to do this is with a programmable thermostat. If you don’t have one already, ask your property manager or consider investing in one. They can often pay for themselves in energy savings. When you’re at home, close off rooms that aren’t in use to concentrate heat in only the spaces you are currently using. Avoid setting the temperature lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit over the winter so your pipes don’t freeze.
Take advantage of the sunnier hours of the Colorado day. Open your curtains and blinds to let in sunlight that will naturally warm your living space. This also adds light so you may save even more by needing fewer lights. Make these practices a habit and you’ll be living greener in no time.
Buy used winter gear
You may find yourself in need of winter gear like jackets, sweaters and winter boots. Save money by buying from thrift shops or online second-hand stores like OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace. If you choose to purchase items from an online seller, use the on-campus Online Safe Exchange Zone to complete your transaction.
Buying second-hand items not only saves you money, but also recycles usable gear, reusing what would have gone to a landfill. Buying used instead of new also cuts down on the amount of new things that need to be made,reducing the amount of pollutants created by clothing manufacturers.
Use energy-efficient light bulbs
With fewer daylight hours, you may be turning on more lamps. Using energy-efficient light bulbs is a small investment that can lead to big savings, both in energy use and your budget. Check what kind of light bulbs you’re currently using and consider swapping them out for more efficient ones. 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 living a more sustainable lifestyle. If you haven’t already, take the Sustainable Buffs pledge and join the community committed to living sustainably.