It’s cold outside, and you can’t wait to get back to your heated house. That artificial warmth keeps you cozy — but your comfort comes at a cost to the planet. Every time you turn your heat up a notch, your system emits carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere, which doesn’t just increase temperatures inside your home, bu also the global climate.
Let’s look at how keeping your heat low has a positive impact on the environment and, as a consequence, your health too.
What To Know About The Greenhouse Effect
How does the greenhouse effect work? It happens when gases become trapped by the sun’s heat, which helps the planet maintain a livable environment for humans, wildlife and plants. This natural process keeps Earth the perfect medium between hot and cold.
Recently, scientists have noted that fossil fuels have increased the greenhouse effect in ways that harm the planet. Because oil, gas and coal all emit greenhouse gases, we essentially contribute extra heat to the atmosphere every time we burn resources for energy. Then, Earth experiences what we know as climate change — and various serious implications follow.
Negative Impacts Of The Greenhouse Gas Effect
Though greenhouse gases are essential, they come with negative side effects when they exceed basic levels. It’s important to realize that global climate change isn’t just bad for the planet. This phenomenon directly impacts human wellbeing, as well.
A warm planet leads to prolonged natural disasters, worsened air quality, potential food shortages and more. There’s also evidence that points to increased disease conditions due to how climate change alters the environment.
These circumstances will continue to affect how we live our lives, which means even small solutions are essential.
Why Renewable Energy Matters
The problem doesn’t only stem from fossil fuels. Every activity that produces greenhouse gases, such as deforestation and agriculture, counts as a cause for concern. That said, fossil fuels remain the most harmful source around the globe.
That’s why we need to change how we create energy. Many homes and businesses rely on fossil fuels for power and heat, while vehicles use them for gas. Throughout the past few decades, renewable energy has become more mainstream. Between geothermal, solar and wind, we now have access to various clean alternatives we can use instead.
These choices emit little to no greenhouse gases during operation. Plus, they aren’t finite, which has been another concern regarding fossil fuels. If you source energy from the sun, you’ll always have access to that power.
Heating And Cooling Makes A Difference
However, we can’t expect everyone to transition to renewable energy. These systems often have high upfront costs, which can deter consumers from switching to them. It’s best to choose clean alternatives, but you have the chance to make a difference even when using fossil fuels.
Consider how high you turn up your heat in the winter. If you like your space to feel extra toasty, you probably keep the thermostat around 70 degrees or more. However, when you crank the heat in the winter, you’ll receive high energy bills and contribute directly to increased greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s always smarter to set your thermostat to a lower temperature. Try about 5 to 10 degrees less than usual so you can save money while you make a beneficial environmental choice. It’ll be an adjustment at first, but you’ll stay warm as long as you make a few other tweaks:
- Seal your doors and windows to prevent warm air from escaping.
- Open blinds during the day to let in sunlight.
- Close doors to unused rooms.
- Invest in a duvet to stay warm while sleeping.
- Reverse ceiling fans to spin clockwise so you push warm air down to you.
These tricks are just a few ways to stay cozy in the winter while reducing how much you heat your home.
Heating Your Home At Lower Temperatures Benefits You And The Planet
There’s a direct link between fossil fuels used in heating and how global climate change is created. It even impacts personal and public health.
While the ideal situation would be for everyone to transition to renewable energy, we have to keep in mind that challenges exist in getting there. However, you can help reduce excess greenhouse gas emissions even when using fossil fuels — and that’s where lowering your heating makes a difference.
Jane is an environmental writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers sustainability and eco-friendly living.