BPU offers tips for consumers
As the temperatures outside rise, so too does energy consumption resulting from air conditioning and other summertime activities. With a little planning and following the tips below, you can beat the heat, reduce energy usage and utility costs, and minimize your carbon footprint.
• Give your air conditioner a checkup. Clearing or cleaning a clogged air-conditioning unit filter can save 5 to 15% in energy use, and keeps the unit in proper working order.
• Adjust your thermostat. Set your thermostat temperature just cool enough to keep you comfortable, and then bump it up one degree. Each degree set above 75⁰F could save 10-15% in energy used.
• Use fans instead of or to supplement air conditioning. Fans use 1/60th the energy of an air conditioner. While they don’t cool the air, they pull body heat away from the skin, and can be used alongside air conditioning, letting you raise your thermostat a few degrees and still remain comfortable. Ceiling fans make rooms feel four degrees cooler.
• Use electricity during off-peak hours. The time of day you use electricity is also important. Shifting energy use to “off peak” hours – early morning or late at night – can help reduce load on the grid and lower energy costs.
• Block the sun with shades and drapes. When fully pulled down and closed over a window with a lot of sun exposure, blinds can reduce heat gain by up to 45%
• Close doors and vents. Closing doors and air-conditioning vents in rooms that are not in use can help make your cooling system more efficient, and cuts back on cooling rooms no one is in.
• Plants provide much needed shade. Planting shrubs and trees on the south and west sides of your house, or at least over your outdoor air-conditioning unit, can make your cooling system up to 10% more efficient.
• Kitchen and laundry. Avoid frequently opening your refrigerator. A microwave uses less energy than an oven. Wash full loads of clothes. Hang clothes to dry instead of using a clothes dryer.
- Story from BPU