Keeping Toasty - But At What Cost?

It doesn’t take a scientist to realize it’s freezing outside.

But it does take one to help understand why we should adjust the ways we stay warm this winter.

Since 1970, global surface temperatures have risen at a trend of 0.28°F per decade. Scientific models illustrate that the 2000s were hotter than the 1990s, which were hotter than the 1980s, and so on.

Some days happen to be colder than others, which make it hard to feel slow changes in climate. But looking at temperature data from recent decades shows that new record highs occur about twice as often as new record lows. This all largely caused by human greenhouse gas emissions over time.  

That’s where you come in.

Household space heating makes up more than 40 percent of all energy consumption and heating costs are projected to climb higher than usual this winter in response to forecasted, low-digit temperatures. 

While heating is a high priority, there are steps you can take to stay warm, limit greenhouse gas emissions and save a buck or two on energy bills.

One option could be to invest in a programmable central thermostat. According to a recent survey, only 37 percent of households use a programmable thermostat to heat their homes. These systems can save an average person about 20 percent of costs on their original heating bill.

If your household is already one of the 48 percent that contains a non-programmable central thermostat, you can still minimize heating costs by setting the thermostat to a maximum of 70°F when occupied and 61°F when unoccupied.

And, of course, you can always wear a sweater.

Heat responsibly!

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.