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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Winter warmers: 3 eco-friendly ways to keep warm

Hot water bottle and scarf

Credit: iStockphoto

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Brrrr! Winters aren’t as harsh as they used to be, but I’m still never really happy when the maximum temperatures are below 20 degrees each day. It’s tempting to crank up the heater or plug in an electric blanket, but that’ll wreck all the effort you made to save energy earlier in the year.

I’ve been looking into some ways that you can keep warm without falling back on un-environmental options, let’s see what we’ve got:

1. Think retro: what did people do before reverse-cycle air-conditioning was common? They did any or all of the following:

  • used hot water bottles and heat packs
  • had throw rugs to use on the couch
  • wore ugg boots or slippers around the house
  • put on a jumper

It’s not any more difficult than pushing a button on an appliance, but a lot of people seem to have forgotten how to do these things lately.

2. Learn how to heat your home efficiently, to get the most out of your heater when it is on.

  • check your roof is properly insulated so you’re not losing heat
  • open the curtains on sunny days to let the sun in, and keep them shut tight at night
  • run ceiling fans in reverse - hot air rises, so you want to push it back down to your level
  • make sure your heater’s flues and fans are clean so it doesn’t waste energy.

For more tips, check out YourHome.gov.au’s heating and cooling information.

3. Grab a hot drink and cuddle up to someone you love - not everything has to be technical! A slow-cooked meal and a hot cup of tea or Milo before snuggling up under a rug on the couch to watch a movie with someone is a fun way to spend a cold winter’s night.

What are your tips for keeping warm until we all thaw out in Spring?