After months of hunkering down inside to avoid the cold, spring weather is finally here. You may naturally want to venture outdoors more now that things are warming up, but there are also a handful of benefits to getting outside. Here are five ways that getting outdoors this spring can significantly improve your health and reduce utility costs.
Take Advantage of the Better Air Quality
Did you know the air quality inside your home is probably much worse than outside? No matter how much you clean your home, if it’s shut up tight the air quality will suffer. In fact, some cleaning products can make air quality worse. The EPA has found that no matter where a person lives, many common air pollutants tend to be 2-5 times worse inside than outside.
The simple solution is to spend less time indoors and air your home out every so often. Planning to spend an afternoon outside in your yard is the perfect idea. That way you can use the opportunity to also open up your home to improve the air quality inside. Just an hour or two of letting the fresh air cycle through can be a big improvement.
Also, don’t forget to change your HVAC air filter after airing out the house. That way you can start fresh and trap any air particles that are still in the ductwork.
Minimize HVAC Use
During the winter months running the HVAC system for most of the day has a significant impact on your utility bill and the air quality in your home. Usually the spring is when we’re able to get a reprieve and can give the HVAC a break. But it could warm up enough outside that you may consider turning on the AC.
Getting outside can help you resist the urge since the airflow makes it feel cooler. Once you’re back at home, turn on a fan to replicate the cool breeze, and you’ll feel up to eight degrees cooler without turning on the air conditioner thanks to the wind chill effect.
Ditch Artificial Lighting for Daylight
Artificial light is very convenient and has transformed our ability to do things after sunset, but it can be too much of a good thing. There is growing concern that insufficient sun exposure is causing health concerns. It’s been linked to an increased risk for various types of cancers, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, asthma and more. Part of the issue is lack of outdoor activity in general, but some problems are specifically linked to not getting out in the daylight enough.
Getting outdoors in the early hours of the morning is particularly beneficial for your health. Exposure to the sunlight is directly connected to our circadian rhythms and sleep. New research shows that getting outside in the sunlight for at least 10 minutes in the morning can help regulate and improve sleep while making you feel more alert throughout the day.
So instead of having your morning coffee and checking your email inside where the lights are costing you money, you could find a spot to sit outdoors. You’ll save electricity immediately and sleep better later on. Repeat the process later in the afternoon when the sun is setting to dial in your circadian rhythm even more.
Getting Grilling to Save Electricity in the Kitchen
While you’re outside getting sunlight you can also whip up lunch or dinner on the grill. Cooking outside has a few energy reducing advantages:
- You won’t need electricity to cook the food.
- You won’t generate extra heat inside that may tempt you to turn on the AC.
- You won’t have as much to clean up, which saves on water and electricity.
Just be careful to minimize consuming the charred pieces of grilled foods. The National Cancer Institute warns that the charred parts contain carcinogens that shouldn’t be eaten.
Enjoy the Environment You Help Preserve
Verde Energy customers care about the environment, which is why they choose green energy plans. Regularly hiking a trail and visiting a local park is important because it sends a message to the local policymakers that the community cares about greenspaces. And the more local communities invest in greenspaces the more places people will have to get out and enjoy the environment.
When you get outdoors, not only will you be enjoying the environment that you are helping preserve, you’ll also reduce energy use, lower utility costs and improve your health. That’s something we fully support at Verde Energy!