When most people think about renewable energy, they think windmills and solar panels harvesting the never-ending supplies of wind and sunlight. But when energy pundits think renewable fuels, they're thinking energy efficiency—and harvesting the never-ending supplies of human creativity in how they can save energy. "I like to think about active people, passive houses," says James Brew, principal architect at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit think-tank that advocates for more efficient use of natural resources. "If you actively engage in the energy operation of your house, you're going to save money, and you learn more about your house's energy balance."
So forget the pricey solar panels and, says Brew, even the expensive window replacements. If you want to know how to save energy in your home, think much smaller, like leaky windows and uninsulated pipes, because it's those small changes that add up to big savings over time, especially during winter. Heating your air and your water takes up the largest chunk of your annual electricity bill.
With the onset of fall, and winter just around the corner, Brew gave us a few ways to save energy when the temperature drops:
(Brag your love of gardening with the Organic Life 2018 Wall Calendar, featuring gorgeous photographs, cooking tips and recipes, plus how to eat more—and waste less!— of what's in season.)