Stay sustainable and warm this winter

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With the winter snow came winter temperatures.

That means we are switching on our heaters, hunkering down by the fire and sipping hot cider.

It also means we have another chance to practice energy conservation.

Saving energy’s not only is beneficial to your wallet, but it also has positive impacts on the environment.

Energy used to heat our houses, typically natural gas or electricity, emit pollutants into our atmosphere that contribute to climate change and air pollution.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “A typical household spends about $2,100 a year on energy bills and contributes twice the amount of greenhouse gases to the environment as an average car.”

Thankfully, there are several easy tips we can practice to conserve energy this winter.

Next time your room or house feels a little chilly, wear a few extra layers instead of turning up your thermostat.

While it may seem like a few degrees would not make a difference in energy conservation, every little bit counts.

Practicing this energy conservation tip also gives you a good excuse to show off your new sweaters!

Are you gone for the day or leaving for the weekend?

Turn the thermostat down even more, but not so much your pipes freeze.

If you have the option, install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature in your home while you are at work or sleeping so you’ll never forget.

There is no point in heating a room when no one is home.

It takes less energy to heat a cooler room once than it is to maintain a room at a steady temperature over a stretch of time.

If turning down your thermostat isn’t an option for you, open your window shades during the day and close them at night.

This allows the sun to naturally warm your room during the day.

At night, the curtains insulate the windows and keep the cold air outside.

Also, make sure all doors and windows are shut tightly and nothing is blocking your heating registers.

Finally, change your furnace filter regularly to allow for good air flow.

Now that you know how to conserve energy and stay warm this winter, sit back, brew some hot chocolate and watch the snow fall.

Jennifer McLaughlin is the SDSU sustainability specialist and can be reached at jennifer.mclaughlin@sdstate.edu.

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