How to heat your house—not the outside.

Help the planet.
April 23 2007 1:30 PM

Warm Up

How to heat your house—not the outside.

What's the "Green Challenge"? Click here.

1_123125_2151565_2151577_2151578_2151882_tabs_01
1_123125_2151565_2151577_2151578_2151882_greentab_02
1_123125_2151565_2151577_2151578_2151882_tabs_03
1_123125_2151565_2151577_2151578_2151882_tabs_04
1_123125_2151565_2151577_2151578_2151882_tabs_05
1_123125_2151565_2151577_2151578_2151882_tabs_06
1_123125_2151565_2156585_2156586_2164345_graytabs_07
1_123125_2151565_2156585_2156586_2164345_blank

Click to launch the Week 2 Action Quiz

More than 20 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States come from energy use in homes. A major source of the problem is heating, and even though we're heading toward summer, heat is still an essential element in reducing your carbon load for the year. Some of us keep our homes warmer than we need to—if yours feels like an icebox in summer and a toaster in winter, you're probably in this group. In addition, most houses leak some hot air (and, in the summer, cool air) from every window, doorway, and air duct, which means that they're constantly wasting energy, and thereby upping CO 2 emissions. (Increasing your home's efficiency will help decrease CO 2 emissions generated by your air-conditioner, too, but since it runs on electricity, we'll address that in an upcoming segement.)

This is not a necessary evil. Solar and wind power, which both create largely emissions-free electricity, can be expensive, tricky, or impractical. Likewise the newfangled geothermal energy. But you can stick with regular old oil, gas, or electricity and still cut down on the amount of energy you use to heat your home. Weatherizing is an excellent place to begin. Along with shedding carbon pounds, it can save you hundreds of dollars each year. It will also help save cool air from escaping during summer months. There are relatively painless ways to address overheating as well. Some suggestions for getting started:

• According to the National Resources Defense Council, the gaps around the windows and doors in most houses let out the same amount of air, all told, as a 3-by-3-foot hole. You can find the leaks and then use caulking and weatherstripping to seal them off. (Here's a how-to guide.)

Slate Green Challenge with TreeHugger.

Meaghan O'Neill is a freelance writer and founding editor of treehugger.com, an eco-Web site and Slate's partner on the Green Challenge.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.