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Posted January 9, 2015 by HomeownerExpert in Green Living
 
 

Green Ideas for a Warm and Cozy Winter Home



Cold days and seemingly endless winter nights can really take a toll on your psyche, especially as the winter drags on into its second and third month. A warm, cozy home can be the antidote you need to cure the winter blahs, so we put together a list of green ideas that will make your home a little brighter, a little warmer and a little more comfortable as you wait for the arrival of spring.

1. Use natural light. Believe it or not, the sun doesn’t completely disappear in November and reappear in March. It might be a little harder to see, but it’s out there. Letting some extra sunshine in can make your house feel more inviting, and potentially ward off the effects of mood-altering seasonal affective disorder.

  • Keep windows clean and clear to let in as much light as possible.
  • Remove window screens during winter. All they do is gather dust and block light.
  • Open up the blinds and shades on your windows during the day, especially on south-facing windows that receive the sun’s fullest effects. In addition to making your home brighter, the sun shining through your windows can also warm up your living space, reducing your wintertime energy bills.

2. Warm up your house. There are ways to actually make your house warmer, and then there are ways to make it seem warmer. Both are important when you’re in the midst of the winter doldrums.

  • Replace your traditional wood fireplace with a gel fireplace insert. This eco-friendly alternative creates the appearance of a crackling fire without wasting energy by sending heated air up the chimney. Basic models run between $100 and $300.
  • Set your fans to turn backwards. Reversing the spin you’re your ceiling fans pushes heated air downward from the ceiling, creating a warming breeze that makes your house feel warmer.
  • Paint rooms in warm hues. The psychological effects of color are well established, and painting chilly rooms in shades of red, yellow and orange can actually make your house feel considerably less wintry even in the dead of winter.

3. Boost your immune system. A healthy indoor environment keeps the sniffles at bay, reduces the symptoms of winter colds and allergies, and generally makes your home a more pleasant place to be.

  • Change your HVAC filters every month or two to prevent excess dust and other airborne particles from circulating.
  • Use a humidifier to keep your indoor air from getting too dry. Options range from portable humidifiers under $20 to the considerably more costly whole-house humidifiers, which work with your HVAC to control humidity throughout your home.
  • Get some plants. Many houseplants, including gerbera daisies, golden pathos and dozens of others, actively remove harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air. They also produce oxygen, look great and add a splash of color that may remind you of a better time when the whole world was green. Hang in there. It’ll be that way again in a few months.
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