It's Hot Out: How to Stay Cool and Save Energy (and Water, and Money too)

In addition to water use, summer is also the time of peak energy use. With almost the entire country trying to stay cool with air conditioners and fans, the electricity grid is over-taxed and electricity bills are soaring.

To make matters worse, most of our electricity comes from thermoelectric power plants, which usually require a lot of water for operations. These power plants impact aquatic life and can cause water bodies to heat up. Saving energy will also help to save water, which is especially important concerning this summer’s drought.

Here are some tips to lower your energy bills, save energy and, indirectly, save water too:

  • Turn off air conditioning before you leave your home for extended periods of time.  Or at least turn up the thermostat. It’s a straightforward way to use less power. Also, make sure the filter is clean. Dirty air conditioning filters cause the units to run harder, thus sucking up more energy.
  • Keep the refrigerator doors closed whenever possible.  Also, avoid placing hot items in the fridge — let them cool to room temperature first. 
  • Nuke it.  A microwave is much more efficient at cooking than using an oven, especially if you are trying to stay cool with air conditioning.
  • It’s curtains for you.  Curtains, blinds and shades help keep the sun’s hot rays out of you house. So keep them closed on sunny days. Also, planting deciduous trees near your house can produce a similar effect with the added bonus that once it sheds its leaves the sunlight will return in the winter.
  • Buy Energy Star.  Energy Star appliances and other products use less energy without giving up on performance.
  • Solar power your laundry.  Skip the dryer and go for the old fashioned clothes line. You can’t beat free energy from the sun — just make sure there is no rain in the forecast.
  • Keep your car tires properly inflated.  Tires that are under-inflated reduce performance. Keep them full of air to increase gas mileage.
  • Go Solar.  Photovoltaic energy has never been more affordable. Solar companies, like Solar City and Sungevity, make it easy for homeowner to use solar panels and save money on energy bills.

Saving energy and water in the summer helps improve our collective well-being. While we cannot control high temperatures, we can take some measures to save precious resources. (And save money on our energy bills!)