A pretty season during which the weather can’t make up its mind
Am I cold? Am I hot? Do I miss Summer already or am I excited for Christmas? The Autumn season is upon us and are we ready for Winter? The change in weather causes a change in habits – heating bills rise, water bills rise and we (usually) eat more food.
Here are some tricks for Autumn to help you stay environmentally conscious as the months grow colder.
Heat yourself, not your home
You can only be in one room at one time. Before putting the heating on throw on a jumper, use a blanket or a hot water bottle. Think about investing in two duvets – one for Summer and one for Winter to alternate throughout the year as necessary rather than use energy to stay warm/cool at night. If there are many people in the house look into smart energy, rooms can be isolated to heat as necessary rather than your whole home either on/off.
While there are still relatively long daylight hours take advantage of sunlight. Open curtains and blinds in rooms which receive the most daylight to warm your home naturally. As the days get cooler it’s a good idea to keep them closed to trap warmth inside.
Remember to check all windows before you leave the house. Especially the bathroom, this is the window that is most frequently left open. If you’re home is older there may be drafts from old windows or doors. Look into buying a draft excluder for doors.
Slightly off topic, but rugs are a great way to make a home feel warmer and cosier in the colder months if you have wooden, vinyl or tiled flooring.
Airing out your home
Naturally, windows and doors are closed in the colder months. Heated air can get humid and your home can feel stuffy. When there is a sunny day take advantage and air out the house by opening the windows. Open windows where air can flow through, keep doors open and give yourself a certain amount of time to do this (remember to turn the heating off when you do this).
Take advantage of indoor plants
If you’re not too keen on opening windows once a week and letting the cold in ensure you fill your house with indoor plants. They aid easy breathing by releasing oxygen into your home while removing carbon dioxide. Plants also release 97% of the water they take in which can help with respiratory distress as well as decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs. They also bring colour and life into your home which is welcome in the colder months.
Ensure your home is decorated with the environment us in mind. Fireworks, candles, Autumn and Christmas decorations as standard are made with materials which are unkind to the planet. Be careful and look for suppliers who are conscious of the environment. Look for beeswax candles rather than paraffin. Avoid tinsel at Christmas.
I personally eat at least a third more in the Autumn and Winter than in the warmer seasons. Over stocking your fridge can send it into overdrive and stop efficient ventilation. Ensure you allow cool air to circulate around your food. If you are defrosting anything defrost in the fridge, this will help keep your fridge cool and make it run less.
With reduced sunlight there inevitably will be less fresh produce in the UK. Try to buy local where you can, support local markets and farmers. Where you can’y buy UK foods look for European produce before you opt for further afield to reduce emissions.
When it’s dark and colder entertaining moves indoors. Consider what you are using from recycled paper plates and napkins, to candles as previously mentioned. Try to make as many plant-based dishes for your guests as you can. Research outdoor heating methods as wood burners. A number of natural substances in wood that are released by incomplete combustion are toxic to the environment and living creatures.
The colder months can be hard for some people, especially the elderly. Check with neighbours or use apps like GoodGym to help with autumn chores or any of the above. Donate your time to help others become environmentally aware and save them money at the same time.
If you have any suggestions or advice in which small efforts can change the outcomes our environment faces please share with us.
Grace works for a School Improvement Partnership and is our resident ocean lover. Having worked as a scuba instructor in Indonesia she has picked up her fair share of ocean plastic. Her favourite eco product is Oliva Olive Oil Soap.