6 Sustainable Ways to Stay Warm This Winter

Winter’s on its way, and we’ve got sustainable solutions to keep your home and body warm. Heating your home requires a lot of energy, and with rising costs for oil and propane, now’s a great time to make a sustainable choice by switching to renewable resources. Our individual actions add up, so we’ve got all sorts of ideas to help you warm up in a way that is good for your health, your environment, and your wallet, too.

1. Solar + heat pump

Heat Pumps and Solar, the least expensive way to heat your home this winter

Get a heat pump, power it with solar, and you’ve got the perfect combo for clean, affordable fuel. Heat pumps are super efficient, using about as little energy as you would running a window fan. They operate with an inside unit attached high on a wall, and an outside unit on the ground or mounted low. No more hazardous oil and propane tanks sitting on your property. Solar-powered heat pumps allow you to produce and own your own power. That translates to a low, fixed monthly payment for solar. (And when it’s not home-heating season, you’ve still got a sustainable system since heat pumps also offer home cooling, dehumidification, and air filtration.)

2. Weatherizing your home

Weatherize Your home

A home that keeps your heat inside is an energy efficient home. That’s why weatherizing is so important. Houses tend to have lots of places where air escapes. Weatherizing finds them and fixes them. This season,  SunCommon is partnering with Heat Squad, Button Up Vermont, and Efficiency Vermont. Through workshops, programs, and home visits, you can get the help you need to be sure that your house is buttoned up this winter. Find a workshop near you here or reach out and we’ll help you get connected with the right program. 

3.  Smart thermostats

smart thermostats that synch with your phone or device

Alexa, set the temperature to 60 degrees.” Controlling smart thermostats is easy and efficient thanks to technology. Smart thermostats connect to the internet, to smartphone apps, and to voice-activated assistants like Alexa and Google Home. You don’t have to be home to change the temperature. The energy savings comes from having your home cooler longer mostly when you’re away, but also when you’re sleeping. You set a schedule and a temperature range, and the especially smart part is that your habits get studied and you receive suggestions for more energy efficiency. Home heating is a really big source of energy consumption. Switch to a smart thermostat and save (energy and money).

4. Solar-charged heated clothing

Just like solar can power a heat pump for your home, it can also power your heated clothing to keep your body warm and toasty during your winter adventures. Let’s use PolarSeal as an example. They make a bunch of heated garments like hoodies, active zip-tops, and parkas. They have pockets with a USB attachment. You charge a power bank in your solar-powered home and then connect it to the USB in your pocket. Sound too toasty? Don’t worry the power banks are low voltage. Only 5 V. You stay warm for several hours or most of the day, depending on the power bank you choose.

5. Sustainably-made blanket, throw, sweater

Sustainable Throw Blankets

We know you can only be in heated clothing as long as your charge lasts. For the rest of the time, you can stay warm outside with sustainably-made sweaters, hats, mitten, and socks. Indoors, nothing beats a blanket that someone has knit for you with eco-friendly yarn. For your sustainable buying or wish list, look to companies like Patagonia, Turtle Fur and Smartwool. Be warm and take comfort knowing that what’s close to your skin is safe for you and the environment.

6. Own a warm pet you can snuggle with — dog, cat, bunny

At the end of the day, or any time of day, really, snuggling with our favorite pets is one of the best ways to warm up. (If you’re not a pet lover, that’s okay, you’ve got lots of options above.) At SunCommon, it’s no secret that we love dogs. They make our office feel especially warm and cozy in the winter. If you come in to see us this season, you may see one of these dogs. They’re friendly. Feel free to warm up your hands with a little patting.

Staying warm sustainably can be a simple lifestyle choice, and it can be fun. If heating your home doesn’t feel that way, contact us about solar and a heat pump. We’re here to help.

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