Curious about how to keep cool this summer?
Here are some tips to help minimize your energy footprint while inside your home and on the go this summer.
Appliances use a lot of energy. Be sure to check yours to make sure they’re running efficiently. And if you’re in the market for a new refrigerator or washing machine, check out energy-efficient models.
For maximum efficiency, keep your refrigerator between 35 and 38 degrees and your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees. On days when your fridge isn’t as full, keep jugs of water inside so the refrigerator doesn’t waste energy cooling empty space. It’s also a good habit to set up a cleaning schedule for your fridge. Every quarter, vacuum underneath, and check seals and coils to remove dust.
Use your grill to batch cook foods! Keeping your oven turned off helps keep your house comfortable, so consider grilling your dinner outside and cook enough food for lunch the next day.
We’ve already touched on not running your dryer during the day to keep temperatures down, but it also saves energy to wash your clothes in cold water. And, make sure you’re always doing a full laundry load to conserve energy and water.
Finally, turn your water heater temperature down. Summer’s not the time for scalding showers. Keep the temperature around 110 degrees to conserve even more energy.
Around the House
If you’re already unplugging appliances and watching your water use, here are some other tips to save money inside:
Buy LED bulbs and swap out older models, since LED lights save energy and last longer. You can also check with your energy provider to see if they offer discounts for LEDs, since many do.
Check your recycling. Recycling? Energy? Huh? Recycling prevents materials from being made from scratch, which saves energy. Recycling aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy needed to create a new can. Make sure you’re aligned with your city’s recycling system and are disposing of items correctly.
Don’t run your ceiling fans if you aren’t in the room. Ceiling fans cool people, not places, so if you’re not in the room with the fan it’s wasting energy.
Outside Your Home
To help save energy when you’re on the go or away from home, follow these tips:
- Group errands together to help lower car mileage.
- Plant trees on the south side of your house to keep sunlight out. Trees provide natural shade and help keep your house cooler.
- Borrow, don’t buy. Need a tool or appliance for a short period? Ask a friend or neighbor to borrow theirs. This saves energy by avoiding emissions of air shipment and freight travel, not to mention creating a new item. It also lowers your environmental footprint when you own less stuff.
- Before you leave for vacation, check that your small appliances are off and unplugged. Close your shades, and don’t forget to turn off your air conditioning and your ice maker.
What tips would you add to this list?
Eliza Erskine has a Master’s in Sustainability from the Harvard Extension School and a BA in Business Administration from Boston University. She founded Green Buoy Consulting in 2018 to help small and early stage businesses with sustainability. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest and lives in New York City.