There are some of us who spend all year looking forward to this time of the year: the sparkling snow, the holiday cheer, the scent of woodsmoke in the air and a glint of candlelight at the dinner table. For them, the weather is sometimes the best part, or at least an acceptable part of the deal; cozy nights, long days on the slopes, and plenty of comfy layers in between. But for even those heartiest of people, this season brings some things few embrace: winterizing and renovations. Be it dedication to the environment or dedication to your pocketbook, the unique challenge of heating throughout our New England winters is one that has defined us for generations. With a vast array of options from short-term to long, your winter can be spent focused on the wonderland instead of the thermostat.


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Renovations may always seem overwhelming, and environmentally-based ones even more so, but ultimately they come with the greatest rewards. Double-paned windows, excellent insulation, and carefully designed entryways are all brilliant when it comes to minimizing your carbon emissions footprint – while even adding value to your home. The logic is simple: the less heat escaping your home, the less energy needed to create and maintain that heat, the less money spent on energy. It further offers the chance to aesthetically enhance your home, as a renovation that will over time save you money, but can also simultaneously add newly gorgeous elements.


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If you’re considering the form of heating in your home itself, now is the time of year to consider that coziest option: the wood stove or fireplace. Used either as a primary heat source or supplementary one, the appeal is clear during the colder months both aesthetically and fiscally. Wood as a heating source – especially in New England – can be far more efficient, while also being a highly prized interior design masterpiece.


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It may not be the most glamorous or exciting, but simply winterizing your home works magic for both the environment and your bank account. Of course, most people know that the biggest thief on your energy bill is heat escaping instead of warming you up, but too many of those same people accept it rather than actually undertaking any quick fixes. While the most obvious New England pastime of too much time putting plastic over the windows may come to mind, there are other effective tricks that won’t take quite so many agonizing hours. Gorgeous rugs serve double duty when slaying drafts by doors or down hallways, while replacing air filters, draining water lines, and adding a layer of insulation to the attic floor does heavy lifting behind the scenes.


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Daily life creates its own opportunities for living green – and moreover, healthily. The basics can feel obvious: turn down the thermostat, get outside more, spend less time on the internet (even though the long winter nights demand HBO). But really, these only make for more possibilities, especially at this time of year, and particularly for design. If it’s too cold to spend time outside, then dedicate yourself to bettering the inside – repaint using environmentally-focused brands such as Benjamin Moore’s Natura line, which brings fewer pollutants into your home and are less taxing on the environment when made. Use turning down the thermostat as inspiration to think about your interior choices, from warm throw blankets to fresh carpeting, accent pillows to cozy upholstery. There’s often talk about the advancements in LED lighting and their benefits for the environment, but now holiday lights themselves have joined in, ready to brighten your seasonal traditions for years to come – and at far less cost to both you and nature.


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No matter how small a choice may seem in your home, it impacts the atmosphere of living there for years to come. Our environment is no different – and the choices we make can strengthen both. Though we may all enjoy the winter months differently, our homes can all be beautifully comfortable, in every way, all year long – and from the small choices to the big, can all keep our environment happy for even longer.

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