11 ways to beat the heat and high energy bills this summer

Student holding a compact fluorescent lamps and an incandescent light bulb

By learning more about your light bulbs, you can stay cooler and save money and energy.

By the Sustainability Office

As many of us well know, summers in Utah are beautiful, sunny, and regularly brutal. Here in Salt Lake City, temperatures in July average 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and over June, July, and August residents are blessed (or cursed) with 1,081 hours of sunshine, according to U.S. Climate Data. Remember last June? The monthly average was 90.4 degrees, which is about 8 degrees higher than normal, and there were 17 days with highs greater than 90.

So as the days get hotter, here are 11 ways that the Sustainability Office suggests to keep cool this summer while also saving money, conserving resources, and cutting emissions! It’s a win-win-win-win!

  1. When the AC is running, minimize the loss of cooled air through cracks in closed windows and doors by installing felt lining along the inside of the frame.
  2. Check your AC’s air filters to make sure they’re clean! Replacing a dirty air filter can reduce your AC’s energy consumption by 5-15 percent.
  3. Block the heat and bring in cool air! During the day, shut curtains or blinds to block the heat from the sunlight, and at night crack the windows to let in the cooler air.
  4. Heating and cooling accounts for more than 50 percent of energy costs—AC alone uses 5 percent of all produced U.S. energy and releases 100 million tons of CO2 annually. Whoa. Cut your contribution (and save money) by turning off the AC and opening a window when possible.
  5. If you set your thermostat 7-10 degrees higher for eight hours a day, you can save 10 percent on cooling costs. In the summer, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home (if you are comfortable at that temperature!).
  6. Cool yourself not your house. Before turning up the AC try applying a cold cloth to your neck or sipping on iced drinks. Check out these awesome ideas for cold drinks for a hot day.
  7. Take advantage of the no-energy process of air-drying! Dry your clothes on a drying rack and enjoy the cooling properties of evaporation. Additionally, you can turn off the heated drying on your dishwasher and air-dry dishes.
  8. Consider alternative methods for cooking than in the oven. Using the oven adds heat to the interior of your home, which then requires more energy to cool. So, bust out the BBQ and try some of these summer recipes for the grill.
  9. When taking showers, turn down the temperature and reduce the duration of your shower to save energy. The cooler the water is, the less energy is being used toward heating.
  10. With the change of the season, it is a good idea to also change your bed sheets. By switching to lighter and thinner bedding for the summer, you can stay cooler all night long.
  11. If you have yet to make the transition, now might be the best time to replace your incandescent light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs not only emit light but also emit a significant amount of heat. By switching to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs), you can reduce the heat emitted from your light sources and save 25 -80 percent in annual energy cost.

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