In the guide below, we list and explain different sustainability tips for specifically for winter, and the colder or wetter months of the year.
We include tips relating to how to keep warm, in addition to other tips related to winter specific activities and requirements.
These tips might complement more generalized tips for living sustainably.
1. Consider Buying ‘Sustainable’ Winter Clothes
Examples of this might involve buying sustainably made or pre-worn winter clothes, like pants, jumpers and jackets, socks, and so on.
2. Consider Using More ‘Sustainable’ Energy At Home
The type of energy that a household or building uses has a sustainability footprint.
Using ‘greener’ energy sources may improve sustainability
For a regular household, the main way to do this in the winter might be by using a ‘sustainable’ energy supplier.
‘Sustainable’ energy suppliers use more sustainable energy sources for electricity generation.
One example might be an energy supplier that uses a cleaner energy source over other energy sources like coal energy.
3. Wear Warm Clothes Prior To Using Heating Devices & Systems
Although not always practical or fully effective, sometimes making sure to put on warm clothes (like sweaters, jackets, a beanie, a scarf or neck warmer, pants, tights or compression wear, socks and suitable footwear) can reduce or eliminate the need to use heating devices and systems inside.
When at home, using warm blankets (whilst on the sofa for example, but obviously also in bed) can also sometimes reduce the need to use heating devices and systems.
4. Consider Whether A Fireplace Might Be Practical & Effective At Home
It’s not always practical or effective, but, in some instances, using a fireplace for heating might be more sustainable in some ways over using an electric or gas heater.
Using good quality firewood, or leftover wood, can play a part in this too.
5. Consider Which Type Of Heater Might Be Most Sustainable For Your Desired Use
There’s different categories and types of heaters, with a few examples being:
– Freestanding ‘floor’ heaters vs ducted whole house heating systems
– Electric heaters vs gas or kerosene heaters (e.g. gas or kerosene space heaters)
– Fan heaters vs radiant bar heaters
– Different types of heaters such as halogen heaters, infrared heaters, space heaters, panel heaters, and so on
Different reports indicate that different types of heaters are more sustainable, use more (or less) electricity compared to others, or are more (or less) efficient than others.
You also have to consider other practical factors when using heaters, such as how much heat they can provide (for small vs large areas), how safe they are, as well as how expensive or cheap they are to run.
So, you have to identify which one is most sustainable and also practical to use for your desired application/use.
6. Use Energy Efficient Heating Devices & Systems
Some heating devices and heating systems are designed to be energy efficient.
When purchasing these devices and systems, you can usually look at the energy rating (or energy efficiency rating with stars), or read the product description to see if energy efficient features are incorporated into the design and construction of the device or system.
Some models from different brands also tell you how much electricity they use.
7. Use Heating Devices & Systems In A Sustainable Way
There’s other things users can do whilst operating heating devices and systems to increase sustainability.
Some of these things might include:
– Using these devices only when they are home, or when they need to use them, instead of leaving them running unnecessarily
– Making use of features like heating temperature settings, timers (especially when going to bed or leaving the home), and so on
– Using home heating systems in only the rooms that are being occupied
8. Reduce Cold Air Getting Into The Home, & Allowing Sunlight & Heat In When Possible
Ways to do this might include:
– Covering glass, windows, and doors with blinds, curtains and other coverings when there is little to no sunlight and it’s cold outside, to reduce cold transfer from outside to inside
– Keeping doors and windows shut/closed to limit cold air getting inside
– Uncovering glass, windows, and doors when the sun is out in order to let more heat inside
– Doing DIY or paying a qualified construction professional to close up unwanted gaps and holes around the house where cold air and draughts are entering
9. Consider Rainwater Collection/Harvesting At Home
Winter and colder months may bring more rainfall.
In places where there is an adequate amount of rainfall, and where it’s legal, safe and practical to do so, rainwater collection and harvesting may be an option at home.
We’ve previously written about some of the important aspects of rainwater collection/harvesting in this guide, as well as potential pros and cons in this one (including potential sustainability benefits) .
10. Consider Foods That Are In Season Locally During Summer Months
Local foods may help save on some transport and storage requirements.
So, considering adding some of them to a weekly diet (as long as it’s safe/healthy to do so), may be more sustainable.
This is region specific though, so you will have to research what foods are in season in your area (locally) during these months.
11. Consider Energy Efficient, & Sustainable Housing & Building Designs & Systems
Admittedly, this might only be an option for those building a new home, or those in a position to do renovations on their home.
But, there’s various housing and building design features and systems that can help save energy, be more energy efficient, help manage heat and the cold, and so on.
Building siting and orientation, materials used, insulation used, and other features can all help buildings be more sustainable.
Insulation in particular (in the roof, walls, etc) may help with keeping the cold out, and heat in in winter.
Sustainability Tips For Other Seasons
We’ve put together guides outlining potential tips for other seasons in the year too:
1. Various ‘Better Meets Reality’ guides