As we surge forward into the dreaded hot months of summer the only thing most of us can think about is how high we can crank up the AC without causing a power outage. But let’s face it, while air conditioning makes us more pleasant to deal with (unless you’re one of those rare few who actually enjoys the heat) it uses up an insane amount of electricity. And that’s just not very green.
Why not conserve a little energy this summer while still staying cool? We put together a quick list of five easy tips and tricks of the trade.
1. Use a fan, turn down your AC, or invest in an energy efficient AC unit: There is no need to turn your home into your own private igloo during the middle of summer. For the cooler days, consider using only fans and opening the windows. The breeze is refreshing and it uses considerably less energy than air conditioning. For the days that you just can’t stand it any longer, turn on the air, but try setting the thermostat a few degrees higher than you might otherwise, or use an energy conserving AC unit that cycles on and off as necessary.
2. Barbeque: The tastiest of all our tips! While propane grills are greenest of all grills, charcoal and wood grills will certainly do the trick (and make the burgers taste better in my un-expert opinion). Preparing your food outside keeps the house cool and cuts out the energy required to run the stove or oven.
3. Read a book: Most of our valued Swap.com community members can agree on this next tip! Don’t let your brain turn to mush and avoid the television or the computer. You get the entertainment value while cutting down on your energy consumption.
4. Turn off the lights if you’re not in the room: When I was a child my father dedicated much of his time to following me around and turning off the trail of lights I left behind. Now that I am older I appreciate that lesson much more as it has saved me a bundle on the electric bills. If you’re not in the room and the lights are on, not only is it unnecessary electricity use, but it’s creating more heat. And in this weather, even if it is only a .25 degree difference, the rise in temperature is never appreciated.
5. Unplug the appliances: Going along with same theme as the lights, since you’re probably outside enjoying the summer weather why not unplug the appliances you are not using? Even if it is not currently in use an appliance that is plugged in still consumes energy. This includes things like DVD players, laptops and even hairdryers (guilty). Remember, every little bit of energy you can save helps!
There you have it, five easy ways to stay green in the heat of the summer. And if you have any tips of your own, don’t forget to share them here in the comments on our Facebook page!
(Photo by Todd Morris)