No matter what your holiday haven looks like, here are some tips to help lower your footprint and reduce your overhead:

  • Recycle your old fridge and replace it with something more efficient. And rather than having a second fridge, keep your drinks cool in cold water, or a cooler.
  • For safety and security, put lights on a timer or motion sensor. Bright lights also disorient birds and other animals, so use only the required amount of light and turn them off when not needed.
  • Change your cabin’s bulbs to LEDs wherever you can. They last longer and use less electricity.
  • Spend less time slaving over a hot stove. Use smaller appliances, like toaster ovens and slow cookers, and eat more fresh food (like salad and fruit). This uses less energy and keeps you and your cabin cooler.
  • Time for some R&R. Leave your computer and other electronics at home and spend quality time with your friends and nature. If you can’t forego the electronics completely, use power bars or smart strips to reduce phantom energy loads.
  • Keep cool in the cabin without using a fan. Close the blinds on south and west windows in the day to keep the heat out, open windows for a cross breeze, and minimize cooking, or cook outside.
  • Seal gaps or cracks to draftproof the home and keep the heat (and insects and rot) out.
  • Insulation is not just for winter. Putting insulation into the roof or attic of your cabin will help keep it cooler in summer. If you have hot water, insulate your tank as well. (Note: If it’s a gas-heated tank, this should be done by a professional.)
  • Putting overhangs above your south- or west-facing windows and doors will help keep out unwanted heat.
  • Planting a drought-tolerant deciduous tree or vine outside south or west windows will reduce the heat that comes in and be visually pleasing. Choose varieties that feed birds and/or that have fruit for you. Locate it well and place soil-shading plants underneath to avoid the need for irrigation.
  • One last thing: when you’re packing to go home, don’t forget to bring your new habits with you. Enjoy your holidays!