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Eco-friendly winter survival tips

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The winter season is right around the corner, soon to usher in cold temperatures, snow and ice for many people across the country. There are plenty of people who revel in the idea of frolicking over snow-capped hills or skating on a frozen pond, but many others hope winter passss them by rather quickly.
 
Much of the focus each winter is on staying warm and surviving this often harsh season at whatever the cost. But there are ways to survive winter while helping the environment.
 
Lighting: Thanks to daylight savings time, many areas of the country experience nightfall around 5 p.m. during the winter months. That means people are more likely to turn on artificial lighting to illuminate homes and surroundings. The International Dark-Sky Association says that artificial lights can waste energy and confuse nocturnal animals. If you must use nighttime lighting, select a low-wattage bulb and point it downward. Motion sensor lights save energy and also will turn on intermittently, not enough to disturb animals.
 
Reconsider winter traction techniques. Before you throw down chemical ice melt products, think about safer alternatives. Regular table salt will melt ice and may not be as harmful to the surrounding environment. Sand can offer improved traction when scattered on walkways and it's nontoxic.
 
Select a real tree.When holiday decorating, choose a real tree. These trees are harvested from tree farms that replenish stock as soon as trees are felled. They can be recycled into mulch, and real trees are also biodegradable.
 
Keep houseplants thriving.Houseplants serve as natural air deodorizers and provide fresh oxygen inside of a home. The EPA and its Science Advisory Board have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health. Considering most people spend the majority of their time indoors when the weather is cold, breathing poor air can result in illness. Houseplants are an all-natural way to filter out offensive air without relying on powered air purifiers or chemical air fresheners.
 
Weatherproof the home. Do yourself -- and the environment -- a favor by weatherproofing your home. Add a storm door, check weatherstripping or caulking for drafts, seal entry points for cable, phone and water lines with foam insulation, and also be sure attic and other spaces of the home are thoroughly insulated. This will keep from wasting energy on heating, which is harmful to your budget and the environment.
 
Don't warm up the car. Many cars can do a cold-start and get on the road without the need for idling in the driveway. Instead of wasting gasoline and pouring engine emissions into the air unnecessarily, just get in and drive. If you're sensitive to a cold car, try to park it in the garage during the winter.
 
Carpool. Individuals who used to bike or walk to work when it was nice outside may be tempted to take the car when it's cold. Maximize energy savings by carpooling with like-minded individuals.
 
Invite people over.Instead of turning up the heat when the indoor temperature drops, invite friends and family for an impromptu party. Research indicates that each guest is the equivalent of a 175-watt heater! Not only will you have fun, you'll feel toasty, too.
 
Surviving the winter in an environmentally friendly way really isn't that difficult when you employ some simple strategies. TF11B495