If you live on the East Coast, you’re probably aware of the bomb cyclones that are about to take place. Those of us living on the West Coast hear the term “bomb cyclone” and freak out a little bit, considering that it’s being reported to be one of the worst storms the opposite side of the country has seen in years.
We do have to remember though, this isn’t the first snow storm the East Coast has seen by any means. People are still able to function relatively normally and live their lives the same through hiccups like this. If you’re new to that side of the States, this might be challenging your lifestyle if you try to live in an energy efficient way. After all, you have to stay warm and safe!
Take care of your immediate needs first. Make sure to properly store your food so that it lasts as long as possible, in case you can’t get out and about for a few days post-storm. Have plenty of fresh water stocked up, as well as flashlights, extra batteries, warm blankets, and extra warm clothing. Once you’ve prepared for the weather in the short term, you can start working on the long term.
You might see that subheading and think “do solar panels even work in the snow?” Well surprisingly, the answer is yes. A light snow covering will not interfere with the work solar panels do. A heavy snow covering will, but before you rule it out, know that as soon as there’s even a little bit of it uncovered — say, the snow slides down revealing a portion of the PV panel — significant energy may still be saved. Additionally, the sun can still get through the snow and make some energy when a panel is completely covered, though it’s not much.
The most intimidating things about installing solar panels are the cost, the installation, and the complexity of it. If you’re worried about those things, I recommend reading through Vivint Solar’s Learning Center articles, which are short but informational. If you want more detail-oriented information, however, energy.gov is also a good place to start.
The Department of Energy themselves recommends putting extra insulation in your walls to prevent heat from escaping your house. This way you won’t have to run your heater too often to keep your home at a sustainable temperature. Now, it is pretty common knowledge that poorly insulated houses don’t maintain temperature very well. So you may be wondering why that is and why insulation is important.
SF Gate puts it best: “Insulation reduces the exchange of heat through a surface such as a wall, attic, duct or roof.” This same principle applies year round: cold air won’t escape your house as easily in the summer, similar to how hot energy is maintained in the winter with insulation. If you have a well-insulated house right now, you’re in luck for this bomb cyclone. If you don’t, you can try hanging heavy blankets over your windows and doors — ideally, floor to ceiling for the best results. This is just a temporary insulation solution to keep hot temperatures in and cold temperatures out. When the storm passes, look into better insulation.
Door and Window Updates
Let’s talk more specifically about doors and windows. Doors and windows let heat escape more easily than anything else. Consider updating your doors to composite doors. A composite door is composed of different materials than your typical wood door. They’re usually installed for the purpose of durability and security, but they also do a good job of keeping sound and temperature in.
Another way to insulate your home is by covering your window frames with insulation tape. The fact is a lot of windows, especially in older houses, have poorly-fitted frames. So this insulation tape can keep you not only warm, but keep warm air from escaping at night if you’ve let the sunlight in during the day (though in this cyclone who knows how well that will work).
This is something a lot of businesses are taking advantage of in efforts to become more sustainable, but many homes haven’t applied yet. To be honest, you’ll be using a lot of energy regardless to keep your house warmer most likely. LED lightings are more or less the next logical step in saving energy for everyone, even though they’re not winter or cyclone specific. They’re also something you can buy now and, unlike the rest of the things we’ve listed in this article, not a big renovation or hassle to enact usage of. There is no crew to install them, no big tools needed, and not a lot of time required.
LED Lights last a significantly long amount of time in comparison to incandescent bulbs and will save you a lot of cash in the long run. Most importantly they work around 90 percent more efficiently than incandescents. With your power bill going through the roof due to this bomb cyclone, it’s the perfect time to make this small change. Not only will it save energy but it will save you time and money.
If you’re about to experience this bomb cyclone and find yourself worried about energy conservation, how are you planning on keeping up a green lifestyle while maintaining your warmth and safety? Feel free to comment below and let us know!