Posted by Tom Fitz
Tom Fitz
Tom utilizes over eighteen years of manufacturing experience to help companies c
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on Tuesday, 01 November 2011
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Bundle Up

Save Energy and Money by Adding Layers When Indoors

I sometimes feel like I'm unsympathetic towards my family's needs during the late fall and winter months in my household. Why? I don't believe in cranking up the furnace to achieve Caribbean-like temperatures so we can all sit around in shorts and T-shirts drinking Margaritas. I'd rather save some natural gas, and in the process, money by setting the temperature at a fairly reasonable level that may require us to wear a long sleeve shirt or sweatshirt. By no means is my house an igloo where one's breath can be seen, but our house won't be the setting for the next Corona commercial either.

Although natural gas is the cleanest of all fossil fuels, and also is a domestically abundant and secure source of energy, it still costs money. During the three winter months – Dec/Jan/Feb – my household averages about $170 in natural gas charges, while averaging only $30 the other nine months. It appears that we're leaving some money on the table by not being more scrupulous with our thermostat settings.

Temperature Adjustments in the Workplace?

I often considered taking a similar approach in my last role as VP of Sustainable Engineering at Burt's Bees a couple years back. My Facilities Manager was investigating the potential cost savings associated with every degree the AC was lowered in the hot months or heat was increased during the colder months. We estimated there would be about a 5% energy savings per degree of adjustment equating to some significant energy and cost savings, but never received the thumbs up to proceed.

Japan Launches Campaign to Reduce Electricity Use

I was intrigued when I came across an article in Environmental Leader this morning titled "Cold? Wear Gloves, Japan Tells Workers." In summary, to prevent potential electric outages resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Japanese government is asking workers to pile on sweaters and gloves to save electricity. They launched a similar campaign in the summer titled "Super Cool Biz" where employees were pushed to wear Hawaiian shirts, T-shirts and sandals to save electricity. I guess I'm not as off-base in my home as my wife and daughters make me out to be!

We all know the body amazingly adapts to the environment it is exposed to over a duration of time. Let's all consider changing the ambient temperature in our residences and workplaces to reduce our energy demands, which in turn, will help the environment and save us all money.

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