Part 2a/10 Saving the Planet by Heating Less

This is Part 2a of a 10 part series of blogs in support of the 10:10 campaign  initiated by Franny Armstrong’s team to complement the documentary on global warming, “The Age of Stupid” . It is to enable each one of us to take action to reduce our carbon emissions by 10% in 2010. Download the 10 point family checklist  from the campaign here.

The Checklist lists “Saving 10% on heating” as Step Number 2.  Here are some of the ways in which you can reduce your heating bills and save the planet with lesser carbon emissions:            
1. Seal or caulk windows using a window sealant to prevent heat from escaping through the windows. Tightly sealed windows ensure that cold drafts or air are kept out.  An easy way to check for drafts is by moving a light tissue paper near the edges of the windows, to check if they flutter gently.

2. Get your furnace tuned up and serviced before the onset of winter, to ensure that your heating system functions efficiently. A furnace servicing would involve checking if these are all in order: All electrical parts and components, air fuel mixture, oil motors, heat exchanger for cracks (as this introduces carbon monoxide into the room), thermostat, filters, and evaporator coils.

3. Use a boiler blanket that’s appropriate for your boiler’s model. This serves to insulate it and retain the heat.

4. Put door sweeps to ensure cold air doesn’t enter from under the doors. Install a storm door which is aluminium-clad. This will insulate the doorway of your home.

5. Change air filters in your heater at monthly intervals. The dust accumulated prevents proper heating and leads to higher energy costs.

6. Use a low speed fan in the room, to complement your heater. This actually helps to circulate the heat around the room better and warms up the room evenly.

7. Install a programmable thermostat and lower the temperature setting when you step out of the house, or whenever it gets really warm.

8. Reduce the temperature setting of the heater by one degree consistently, and you can save about 3-4% of your heating bill. Wear a sweater or warm clothing indoors.

9. Use heavy drapes or blinds and keep them drawn particularly in the evenings and at night.  This helps to insulate the windows, as heat escapes through windows.

10. Learn more about different insulating materials and their usages from US Department of Energy’s “Insulation Fact Sheet” http://www.ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/insulation/ins_01.html

11. Install a ground source heat pump which uses renewable energy stored in the ground, instead of hot rocks in Geothermal energy. For more details look Ground Source Heat Pumps Association’s website at http://www.gshp.org.uk/faqs.htm  

Here are some of the ways to reducing the heating bills from your Water Heaters :
1. Turn down default water heater settings. By reducing the thermostat by only a few degrees would save 5-10% of your water heating bill, and millions of tons of CO2, if hundreds of thousands of people did the same.  Install a timer to turn off the water heater automatically especially for storage type water heaters which can keep sucking in energy by trying to keep the water hot.

2. Insulate your water heater by covering it with an insulating jacket that is usually available at hardware stores. This will prevent heat from being lost, and upto 10% of the energy costs of the water heater could be saved.

3. Insulate the pipes that come out of the water heater for the first five to ten feet with slip-on foam sleeves. These are usually available at hardware stores and help to prevent loss of heat as the water travels around the house.

4. Much of the energy used by a water heater is used to maintain the water’s temperature in the water heater tank, even if no hot water is drawn out. This energy is called a “standby loss” This wastage of energy often adds up to about 20% of a household’s water heating costs.

Install a “Tank-less”  Water Heater or “instant water heaters” or “on demand heater”. They are more energy efficient, as they only heat water as and when required and do not store hot water. For more information, look at http://www.tanklesswaterheaterguide.com/ 

5. Drain about a cup of water from the valve faucet at the bottom of the water heater (after switching off the heater, of course) once every 3 to 4 months. This prevents sediments from building up in the water tank and makes it more efficient.


The ideas are from the free e-book which will be made available soon on this website called, “A Quicklist of 1001 Steps to Save the Planet”


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Posted by on Sep 25 2009. Filed under Carbon Footprint, Climate Change, Energy/Renewables. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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