As the summer months fast approach, it becomes very important to examine energy usage. The hottest days of the year are coming up, and although this provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and fun in warm weather, it also places tremendous drain on the energy grid. This demand translates to much higher than normal energy bills for most customers.
The best way to prevent energy waste and to save customers money on their energy bills is education. By providing valuable information on the most effective methods of efficiently using electrical products as well as homes themselves, it is much easier to foresee energy expenditures and identify opportunities for reducing waste—and a much lower energy bill.
Presented below are a few of the top ways to save energy during the summer months.
#1. Programmable Thermostats
Thermostats are typically thoroughly abused in the summer. Building occupants and residents eagerly run to the wall outlet to turn the temperature all the way down to either 60°F or 65°F. Even worse is when these thermostats are left at those temperatures all day throughout the week. The resulting charges on an energy bill can be exorbitant.
A programmable thermostat can greatly help avoid these situations. They can be set to various temperatures throughout the day and especially when people are present. Ideally, the temperature inside should only be a little lower than outside temperatures, or 78°F. Programmable thermostats can make certain that inside temperatures are regulated at comfortable levels while lowering energy costs.
#2. Wise Use of Windows
One of the best ways to keep cool during the summer and lower energy costs is decidedly low-tech. In areas where temperatures at night are much lower than during the day, windows can be extremely cost-effective in keeping inside temperatures cool. Keeping windows shut can capture colder air, reducing AC and central cooling costs throughout the day.
Windows offer the opportunity to take advantage of natural ventilation. Natural ventilation depends on the wind to keep a house cool, especially in areas with regular breezes and cool nights. When homes are designed with windows facing breezes, the incoming wind forces warm air out of the house.
In the summer, windows can be fitted with a number of energy saving and cooling options.
- Awnings – Window awnings are capable of reducing the amount of solar heat that enters into a home by up to 77%. They can be modified to cover either one window or the entire side of a house. These are made of sythemtic fabrics like polyvinyl and acrylic laminates, and are water-repellent to prevent mildew or fading. The best types of awning are those that are tightly woven and opaque.
- Blinds – Whether they are vertical or horizontal, window blinds can help add up to big savings. Exterior roller blinds, usually made of aluminum, steel, or wood, are mounted above the window and completely block out solar heat when lowered. Interior blinds are not as efficient, but can still reduce heat by up to 45%.
- Draperies – Draperies with medium colors with white-plastic backings can help to reduce by up to 33%. These fabrics also remain cooler in the summer than other options due to their folds and pleats which lose heat through convection.
- Other options – There are a range of ways to treat windows for ultimate energy efficiency. These involve high-reflectivity films installed on to the windows, insulated panels on a window’s interior, mesh window screens, overhangs, and shades.
#3. Energy Star Appliances
Established by the EPA in 1992, the Energy Star organization rates various appliances like thermostats, refrigerators, and water heaters based on energy efficiency. An appliance with the Energy Star label comes with a guarantee of reducing energy use by 10% to 15% than those without an approval by the organization. They also usually reasonably priced, which is another benefit for customers.
#4. Power Strips
Power strips and surge protectors go a long way toward reducing energy bills. They regulate the electricity drawn by appliances, and of course, prevent surges. They shouldn’t be used with large appliances like refrigerators or washing machines. They are safest with entertainment devices like TVs, computers, video games and sound systems. They are even useful with small, personal refrigerators and lamps or phone chargers. For additional, guaranteed energy savings, power strips with the Energy Star labels are a great investment.
#5. Compact Florescents Lights (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) Bulbs
CFLs are one of the best methods of saving energy and reducing electric bills. These bulbs are getting more cost-effective each year, which gives customers better access to bulbs with a 10,000-hour lifetime, translating to average annual savings of $200 or more.
LED bulbs are also great replacements for traditional 40W to 75W lighting options. Although they are currently more expensive than conventional light bulbs, they amount to significant cost savings due to long life and miniscule energy use. Prices are also expected to drop as more LED products are released into the market.
AM Conservation Group is thoroughly dedicated to energy savings and efficiency throughout communities. Learn more about how to educate your consumers to be energy efficient in the summer months by downloading our comprehensive Energy Efficiency Packet.