Time spent at the cottage is all about unplugging, unwinding, and getting back to nature. But despite the green surroundings we enjoy at the cottage, a lot of cottage activities—from zipping around on gas-guzzling lake toys to using inefficient appliances for cooking and cleaning—can lead to huge expenditures. To help curb the consumption and keep your cottage green, follow these simple energy-efficiency upgrades from Sally Morse, director of creative services for window treatment manufacturer Hunter Douglas.
Insulate common energy-loss areas
The fastest and most cost-effective way to reduce energy dollars is to seal air leaks. You can find these energy vacuums by holding a lit incense stick on a breezy day near doors, fixtures, and windows. If the smoke travels towards the areas rather than straight up, you’ve found a leak. Once you’ve identified the holes, seal them using caulk, spray foam, or weather strips. And be sure to remove air-conditioning units in the fall and winter, or use an insulated jacket on the exterior, as these appliances invite drafts.
Watch the windows
Windows can account for up to 25 percent of utility bills by leaking heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. To help prevent these inefficiencies, and for a functional and fashionable addition to the home, opt for highly energy-efficient Duette Architella honeycomb shades, which feature an insulating “honeycomb within a honeycomb” design that traps air. Certain Duette Architella shades can reduce heat loss through windows by up to 40 percent in winter and solar heat gain through windows by up to 80 percent in the summer. New Duette Architella Trielle honeycomb shades provide similar light transmission as original shades, but with 20 percent more energy efficiency. They add an additional cell within a honeycomb cell, creating five separate air pockets for insulation. All are manufactured by Hunter Douglas.
Go with all-star accessories and appliances
When purchasing items that consume energy—everything from light bulbs to appliances—look for the Energy Star label. This label ensures you are purchasing an item that will help save money and help protect the environment.
Clean to stay green
Being clean can go a long way when it comes to the energy efficiency of your cottage. By simply keeping certain appliances in the best working condition, you can save on energy costs. Start by servicing and cleaning your gas or oil furnace at least once a year and change or clear out furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Wipe or replace filters on air conditioners monthly or as recommended and do the same with warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed. You should also clean the lint screen in the laundry dryer after every load to increase air circulation and help prevent fire hazards.
Adjust when away and by time of day
If you’re not at home, cut down on utility bills by investing in a programmable thermostat that lets you set temperatures by time of day. And to adjust your motorized window coverings, Hunter Douglas has created a free Platinum App that allows you to precisely position a single window treatment, or position all of the window treatments in one room, or even all of them in the home for optimal energy management as well as privacy, security, and mood.
Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be doing more than saving on utility bills. You’ll be increasing the interior comfort and convenience of your cottage while helping to conserve the Earth’s precious resources.
Is there a room in your house or cottage that needs a facelift? Enter our Revive Your Space contest for a chance to win a $5000 gift certificate from Hunter Douglas!