Winter prep for the green life

Well, winter is already here! For the Northeastern United States, it has been weird to already see snow “early” in winter. Snow blanketed much of the country this past week, and then a swift, freezing cold wind blew past us.

But that only reminds us that we must prepare our houses and daily routines for the cold and wet weather. With some more warmer winter weather, in the 30s and 40s, coming our way, it’s a perfect time to set up the winter routine.

Household prep:

  • Seal any leaks with insulation, caulking, weather stripping and door snakes. By doing this, you keep warm air in and cold air out. If it is really warm and you have the money, invest in double-pane windows. Otherwise, dust off your darker window treatments so that the heat stays in. Also, putting a layer of plastic can help seal windows for the winter, and there are kits in any store. This is not the green way to go, however, if you bought some last year, simply throwing it out isn’t green either. Use up what you have.
  • Clean your gutters, because proper cleaning will prevent damage to the house and deterioration. For an even greener way, you can retrofit the gutters to collect rainwater and snowmelt to aid in lawn irrigation.
  • Insulate your attic so cold doesn’t seep into the house. Also, inspect your roof for any type of leak that would cause major damage during the winter months.
  • Install ceiling fans and set them clockwise in winter, to help push warmer air down where you can enjoy it.
  • Set your thermostat to 65 F or lower, and wear layers of warm cotton clothing in dark colors that absorb light and heat.
  • Consider investing in a programmable thermostat that fulfills heating needs around your schedule. You set it so the heat kicks on for a specified amount of time before you arrive home or before you get up in the mornings.
  • Check your furnace or heating source to make sure it’s working properly. By doing this, you prevent any mid-winter mishaps and get the maximum benefit all winter long. Also, look into a furnace cover, which will prevent heat from seeping from the tank and also prevent the need for it to continuously heat up.

Garden prep:

Keep a bin close by, and you can fill with dead branches and leaves.
  • This about next year’s garden plan and evaluate how you can make it more green.
  • Continue your compost bin. Try a worm bin for the winter, or just keep it close-by your house for easy food disposal.

Transportation prep:

  • Check your vehicle to make sure the fluid levels are at a good point. If needed, add gasoline anti-freeze to your tank before filling up, so your gas won’t freeze when it is 10 degrees below! (This almost happened to me recently!)
  • If you are a walking or mass-transportation commuter, gather organic and eco-friendly winter wear. Look for sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves and coats that have been made organically and, better yet, local. Invest in a good pair of boots that will last you past this year.
  • Biking? It might not be the safest way during winter weather, but there are some maintenance that is needed. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and not worn down; get proper eye gear such as goggles; wear layers and breathable, waterproof coat and clothing; invest in a rear rack or waterproof pannier for your baggage, which will be heavier to cart in the winter weather; get a light for the bike because natural light is scarce; and think about a winter kit, such as a flashlight and a lock de-icer.

Also, don’t forget to stock up on local food essentials to cut down on costs, look up seasonal recipes and cuddle with those you love to keep warm.

Seasons greetings!

Published in Ecotourism

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