Tips for the Slow Home: Conserving Energy

According to the Slow Home Principle of Orientation, "a Slow Home is properly oriented to the sun, prevailing winds, and immediate surroundings in order to facilitate natural heating and cooling." While this sounds lovely and totally ideal, most of us live in dwellings that are already built with no way to change their orientation. If this sound like your situation, read on for ten ways to conserve energy.

  1. Identify the area of each room that has the greatest natural light and situate your reading areas and work areas near those points of light.
  2. Create an efficient lighting scheme in each of your rooms. If you want to kick back with the newspaper in the evenings, position a reading lamp specifically near that spot so you don't have to rely on wattage-wasting overheads.
  3. If possible, plant trees around your home. The extra shade will do wonders on those really hot days.
  4. Install ceiling fans in the rooms where you spend most of your time. If this isn't possible, opt for tabletop fans. Either way, doing so will circulate air to make you feel cooler and to give your AC a reprieve.
  5. Turn the temperature that your AC is set to up.
  6. Dim your lights and turn on only the ones in the room that you're using.
  7. Design your living spaces around the naturally cool and warm points of your home. If the back part of your home is warmer, spend your winter days there.
  8. Take advantage of cooler days and do your heavy housecleaning then. Open your windows for fresh air and for a renewed sense of space.
  9. Install shades and curtains not only to soften your space but also to keep it warm during the winter and cool during the summer. During the winter you'll want draperies that can be opened wide for maximum light and heat when the sun is at its peak. And you'll want to draw the drapes on the hottest days to avoid heat gain.
  10. Figure out which sides of your home receive the strongest breeze and open windows on that wall and your home's opposite side for maximum cross-ventiliation on cooler days.

Learn more about the Slow Home Principle of Orientation.

Tell us: Which are your favorite ways to conserve energy?

(Image: Leela Cyd Ross)

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