When it comes to reducing energy use and increasing sustainability, the bedroom is often forgotten. Even though you spend a third of your life in this one room, you’re usually unconscious. Out of sight out of mind, right? However, you can continue your efforts to reduce waste and make sustainable purchases.
1. Adjust the Thermostat
One of the easiest and quickest ways to reduce energy is to adjust the thermostat for the season. Every degree equals energy saved. In the summer, turning the thermostat up to 75 or 76 degrees gives the air conditioner a break. Instead, try opening the windows and doors to let a breeze cool things down. Fresh air has been shown to improve your sleep quality and help you feel more refreshed in the morning. Just make sure you have screens to make sure you don’t end up with unwanted visitors.
If the air isn’t moving, turn on the ceiling fan or opt for a strategically placed table fan.
2. Cover Windows Right
Your window coverings can be your greatest ally when regulating the temperature inside. Windows are one of the biggest sources of heat loss or gain in the bedroom. Heavy drapes, blackout curtains, and blinds can help keep heat out and cool air in or vice versa in the winter. They can also help you sleep better by keeping out light and sound. Even moonlight can trick your mind into suppressing sleep hormones. A dark room helps both your energy use and your sleep quality.
Of course, closed curtains mean you’re separating yourself from the sun and the outdoors. You only need to keep window coverings closed when temperatures are at their extreme. For example, close them when the afternoon sun hits your bedroom window in the summer or during the frigid morning hours in the winter. The rest of the time, open them up so you can take advantage of your natural surroundings.
3. Shut It All Off When Not in Use
Everything from lamps to televisions use a small amount of power even when they’re not in use. Rather than going around the room and unplugging everything each time you leave, try consolidating your cords. A few extension cords can plug all of your devices into one power strip. When it’s time to go to bed or leave the room, unplug or turn off the power strip. If you have any sleep aids like a BiPAP machine or alarm clock, keep them on a separate power strip next to your bed.
4. Look for a Sustainable Mattress
Mattresses present a big sustainability problem. However, growing environmental concerns by consumers have pushed manufacturers to create models that are far more sustainable than previous designs. Your best, most sustainable options involve natural latex because it’s derived from the sap of the rubber tree. Natural latex mattresses may contain anywhere from 30 to 95 percent natural latex so their sustainability can vary. Latex mattresses with a Global Organic Latex Standard (GOL S) certification are your best choice because they have been 95 percent organically produced.
However, latex mattresses can be pricey. If latex is out of your budget, mattresses with a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification have had both the raw and derivative materials evaluated and 70 percent of the materials must be certified organic. The remaining 30 percent must be free of certain harmful chemicals.
The bedroom shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s just one more place that you can conserve and sustain the natural environment.
About the author:
Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. Her preferred research topics are health and wellness, so Amy’s a regular reader of Scientific American and Nature.