Summertime Conservation Tips

energy-efficiencyIt’s summertime – get outside and play! Take advantage of the extra hours of sunlight, warm summer breezes and just the pure happiness that summer brings. If you live just about anywhere in the three-quarters of the United States that experienced the “Polar Vortex” and the winter from
hell – 2014, you’re happy it’s winter and not going to complain even when it gets to 100 degrees and humidity!

But, with summer comes wastefulness of energy and water. Sometimes we think about just flicking a switch or using extra water to cool ourselves down.

The United States Department of Energy has compiled some energy saving tips for consumers to still enjoy their summer, save money and save energy. Some of these tips include:

  • If  you live in a climate where it cools off in the evening, turn off the air conditioning and open the windows while you are sleeping. In the morning shut the windows and close the blinds to capture the cool air.
  • Install window coverings to prevent heat gain.
  • Set the thermostat as high as comfortably possible — the smaller the difference between the indoor temperature and outdoor temperature, the lower your cooling bill.
  • Use fans and ventilation strategies to cool your home and don’t forget to turn off the fans when you leave the room.
  • Don’t heat your home with appliances and lighting — on hot days cook on the stove or grill outside….or just eat cold foods!
  • Wash only full loads of laundry.
  • Take showers instead of baths.

Not only do we waste energy, we waste water too. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates “Depending upon the region homeowners use 30-60% of their water outdoors. Fifty percent of that is wasted, in part, due to overwatering.”

Sure, we like our lawn and garden to look perfect, but there is a proper way to water our grass, flowers and produce.  One thing we can do is water in the early morning and at dusk — this prevents wasteful evaporation of water in the hot summer sun.

The EPA also suggests:

  • Step on the lawn – if the grass springs back, it doesn’t need water.
  • Leave it long – longer grass promotes a more drought-resistant lawn, reduced evaporation and fewer weeds
  • Take a sprinkler break – grass really isn’t meant to be bright green in the summer.
  • Look for the WaterSense label if you’re shopping for a new timer – this can reduce water usage by 15 percent, saving nearly 8,800 gallons of water per year.

 

These are just a few summertime conservation tips — when it comes to saving water and energy and water it boils down to common sense and your specific needs.

 

Green Ways to Winterize Your Home

Already October, and if you live where it gets frigid in the winter, like I do, then it’s not too soon to start preparing for the winter, which is right around the corner! But, how can you save on energy costs and still winterize your home? There are many things you can do to be green and stay warm and save on energy costs.

First, take care of any drafts you many have throughout your home. Drafts suck energy. According to the United States Department of Energy, drafts can waste between 5 % and 30% of your energy costs. A simple solution is a draft snake, which you can easily make yourself instead of forking out a bundle of money. According to The Daily Green (www.thedailygreen.com), “Just place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door, or make a more…draft snake with googly eyes, felt tongues and the like (visit http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/door-draft-stoppers-draft-snakes-460109 for examples). You can use any scraps of fabric — even neckties — and fill with sand or kitty litter for heft.”

Keep an eye on the thermostat. When leaving your home turn down the thermostat. Do you really need it set higher when you’re not home?  For every degree you lower your thermostat, you will save between one and three percent of your heating bill.

And, changing your furnace filters is another easy and cheap way to save money and the environment too. It’s important to change filters once a month during the winter months because dirty filters limit air flow and increase energy demand. A permanent filter should be considered because it reduces waste and the trouble of replacing the filter.  According to The Daily Green, disposable filters only trap between 10 and 40% of debris, whereas permanent filters, or electrostatic filters, trap approximately 88% of debris and are better at controlling mold, bacteria, viruses and pollen, which cause irritation and illness. These filters can cost between $1,000 and up, but would save you money in the long run because you are not constantly changing the disposable filters and they have proven to be more effective and have less of an impact on the earth.

These are just three tips to winterize your home. Other tips include reverse the direction of ceiling fans and turn down the water heater.