As the days get colder, most of us just want to bundle up inside and stay warm. Bundling up is a great start, but here’s more options to keep cozy, limit your energy waste and even lower your electric bills.

One of the easiest things you can do is keep your curtains and shades open during the day to let in sunlight. Let nature do some of the heating and give your thermostat a break. Then at night, you want to close them to help insulate your home and keep that heat from escaping.

If you’re using the oven for cooking, leave the door open after you’ve turned it off to use the extra heat as it cools down. While we’re at it, before turning up the heat inside your home, see if bundling up a little helps first. No, I’m not saying you need to wear a parka inside your home! However, if a pair of socks and a long-sleeve shirt does the job, it’s better (and less expensive) than blasting the heat through the whole house.

Another great way to prepare for this winter is to weather-proof your home. All you need for this is some caulk and a candle. Light the candle and watch the smoke as you bring it close to all of your door and window frames. If the smoke is pulled to a spot, it means there is a crack that heat can escape from. Then just apply the caulk to that spot, and you’re good to go!

So far, we have been talking about tips to keep warm in your own home. Now let’s focus on how we can help the entire community. Did you know that our food choices can actually help us use less energy? Shopping local and eating seasonal produce not only supports the local economy, but it can also lower total energy usage. If it is from the area, it does not have to be transported as far, which saves energy and resources. By looking for seasonal produce, we reduce the need for foods to be brought from other parts of the world, thus supporting our local farmers.

Saving energy in winter doesn’t have to be difficult. These are just a few of the many ways to go about it. A quick online search can offer even more options. Whether your goal is to save a few bucks on your electric bill or to live sustainably, there’s never a bad reason to start conserving energy.

If you have any questions or want to learn more, you can visit us at the Finnup Center for Conservation Education at the Lee Richardson Zoo. You can also find more information by following Lee Richardson Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Julianne Werts is a conservation education specialist at Lee Richardson Zoo.