You might think of the bedroom as a room where you won’t use much energy. Nearly one-third of your life will be spent there unconscious, but you can still reduce energy use with a few small changes.
Manage The Windows
Windows are at the top of the list for heat loss or gain. Double pane windows are the easiest (and most expensive) way to reduce energy waste. If your windows are already up to date, keep a tube of caulking on hand and annually check for leaks around the windows.
Window coverings like blackout curtains, blinds, or heavily-lined drapes can reduce energy use in both the summer and winter as well. They keep heat in during winter and out in the summer. However, you’ll have to manage them properly. In the summer, close your blinds or curtains during the hottest part of the day to prevent an afternoon rise in temperature. During the winter, let the full morning or afternoon sun warm the bedroom.
Turn Off All Electronics When Not in Use
All your electronics from the television and DVD player to the phone charger and table lamp use a small amount of phantom energy even when not in use. While it may only add a few extra digits to your energy bill, it’s another easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. It can be time-consuming to go around the room and unplug each device one at a time. Instead, use extension cords to attach all plugs to a single power strip. Then, when it’s time for bed or you’re ready to leave the house for the day, you only need to unplug one power strip. It’s simple, easy, and won’t add more than a few seconds to your daily routine.
Adjust Your Bedding for the Season
Most people sleep comfortably between 10 and 15°C (that’s 60 to 68°F). That often means you’ll need to take measures to cool off in the summer and stay warm in the winter. Adjusting your bedding to fit the temperatures of the season allows you to leave the thermostat a little higher in the summer and lower in the winter without interfering with the onset of your sleep.
In the summer, try adding a cooling mattress topper that provides extra breathability, especially if you have an extra soft or memory foam mattress. Sheets made of natural fibres like cotton and linen allow air and moisture to move away from the body, providing more comfortable sleep in hot temperatures. Conversely, a memory foam mattress topper along with jersey or flannel sheets can help see you through the cold winter months.
Smart Use of the Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans use far less energy than a furnace or air conditioner. Plus, they can be used in both the winter and summer. When you want a cooling breeze to evaporate moisture from the skin, set the blades to rotate counterclockwise, which blows cool air towards the ground and you. When the blades turn clockwise, they force warm air back to the ground and pull cool air away from the floor and you.
A cut in bedroom energy use takes some planning but not a great deal of effort. With time, basic maintenance and simple changes to your routine will show savings in both energy and money saved.
Image credits: Sonnie Hiles, Ruby Schmank—thank you.
Samantha Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favourite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.