Summer is here. This means air conditioning season is also here. Energy reduction not only saves money on energy expenses, but also reduces your carbon footprint. Most people know that sealing air leaks in windows and doors can reduce energy costs to cool your home up to 20% and make your home more comfortable. But what else can you do? Here are five surprising ways to save on energy expenses this summer:
Program Your Thermostat to Reduce Energy Expenses When You Are Not Home
While programmable thermostats are fairly common, nearly 40% of programmable thermostat owners do not use the programming features. People with a regular work or school schedule can reduce energy usage by programming the thermostat to turn on the air conditioner at higher temperatures when they are not home and a comfortable temperature, such as 78 degrees Fahrenheit, when they are home. People with more unpredictable schedules can invest in a smart thermostat that can be controlled remotely through a smartphone app. This allows the thermostat to sense when the resident is returning home rather than adhering to a pre-programmed schedule. Either technology reduces energy use by running the air conditioning less frequently when no one is home.
Use Air Circulation to Reduce Energy Expenses When You Are Home
Ceiling fans make the air feel cooler on the skin due to a wind chill effect. This can allow you to set your thermostat as much as ten degrees warmer while making you feel just as cool. Leaving interior doors open when you have central air conditioning promotes air circulation and prevents air pressure imbalances that make the air conditioning system less efficient.
Use Natural Cooling to Reduce Energy Expenses at Night
You can also save electricity, and the associated energy expenses, by turning off the air conditioner at night and opening a window. The night air will cool the air inside the house. This cool air can be trapped inside the house in the morning when the windows are closed. By closing curtains or blinds after sunrise, you can reduce energy expenses even more.
Select and Use the Right Appliances to Reduce Energy Expenses
Energy Star appliances meet standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These products save energy, reduce energy costs, and reduce carbon emissions. Using these products in a smart way, such as running heat-generating appliances like ovens, clothes dryers, and dishwashers during the evening, night, or morning hours, can reduce energy expenses even more.
Use the Landscaping and Exterior of Your Home to Reduce Energy Expenses
Lighter color roofing materials and exterior paint can reduce the amount of heat absorbed from sunlight and, thus, save electricity needed to cool the interior of the home. Shade trees can reduce energy expenses even more by reducing the amount of sunlight hitting the house. Not only will you save on energy costs to cool your home, shade trees and appropriate painting can reduce your carbon footprint by 2.4 tons of CO2 emissions per year. Shade trees actually create a negative carbon footprint by absorbing 25 pounds of CO2 from the air per year.
These are just a few examples of how to reduce energy use and there are many sources of information with more tips. Applying these suggestions can reduce energy use, reduce energy expenses, and reduce carbon footprint.
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