Electricity prices go up in summer with increased demand. Chances of power blackouts and brownouts also increase with hot weather. The Alliance to Save Energy offers consumers energy-efficiency tips to lighten the power load in their homes, cut energy bills and pollution.
Washington, DC, June 2005 - Computers, printers, air conditioners, TVs, VCRs, DVD and CD players, home theaters, microwaves, appliances of every variety, and even electric toothbrushes.... We're more "plugged in" than ever before.
Electricity prices go up in summer with increased demand for such comforts as air conditioning, especially as temperatures soar. Chances of power blackouts and brownouts also increase as sustained hot weather puts a strain on the electricity grid. The Alliance to Save Energy offers consumers energy-efficiency tips to easily and comfortably lighten the power load in their own homes—as well as on the nation's power grid—and cut energy bills and pollution, too:
• Cooling puts the greatest stress on your energy bill and the power grid. Maintain your air conditioning equipment with a professional "tune-up" to save you the cost and inconvenience of a breakdown during the hottest days! Clean or replace filters monthly. For central air conditioning systems, make sure the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is 12 or higher.
• Size matters. Bigger is not always better with air conditioning! Poorly-sized air conditioning units can inflate your energy costs and contribute to poor indoor air quality, worsening your allergies and making breathing uncomfortable. Check with your contractor or local air conditioning system retailer to properly size your unit.
• Keep your cool and lower your costs. ENERGY STAR-certified ceiling fans provide additional cooling and better circulation, enabling you to raise the thermostat and cut down on air conditioning costs. Models with energy-efficient lighting are particularly smart buys.
• Listen to your mother. ("What do you think — we own the electric company?!") Turn off everything not in use: lights, TVs, computers.
• To cut your energy bills by 30 percent, look for the Energy Star label, the symbol for energy efficiency, when shopping for room air conditioners, major appliances, lighting, windows, home electronics, and office equipment. Find retailers near you at www.energystar.gov.
• Tired of coming home to a sweltering house on hot summer days? A programmable thermostat automatically coordinates indoor climates with your daily and weekend patterns, increasing home comfort and reducing energy waste. And you don't have to "remember" to turn the air conditioner off when you won't be home.
• Don't let your house get "sun-burned." Cut your air conditioning load, reduce pollution, and fight your local "heat island" effect by planting leafy trees and vines around your home and installing reflective tiles on your roof and adequate insulation in your home, especially your attic—which can often reach temperatures of 115 degrees or higher! (See www.simplyinsulate.org for insulation information.)
• No more peeping Toms. Close blinds or shades on the south- and west-facing windows of the house during the day or install shading devices such as trellises or awnings.
• Shift energy-intensive tasks, laundry and dishwashing, to off-peak energy demand hours nights and weekends to reduce the strain on the power grid. Do full loads to reduce electricity waste and costs.
• Consider safer, more efficient ENERGY STAR touchiere lamps over popular halogen touchiere lamps which can CAUSE FIRES, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. While relatively inexpensive to purchase, they are expensive to operate, and create a lot of unnecessary heat in summer.
• "4 for the Planet." Just replace your four most used 100-watt incandescent bulbs with four comparable 23-watt compact fluorescent bulbs to save $108 over three years. If all U.S. households did the same, we'd save as much energy as is produced by 30 power plants annually.
• Take the guesswork out of energy-efficient home improvements. Explore the Alliance to Save Energy's Refinancing/Remodeling areas of its consumer website www.ase.org/consumers and various free Home Energy Checkup and audits that provide homeowners with a quick analysis of potential dollar and pollution savings, considering climate types and energy prices www.ase.org/section/_audience/consumers/homecheckup.
• Go "window-shopping" at the Efficient Windows Collaborative web site, www.efficientwindows.org. You'll learn how high-performance Energy Star windows can reduce average cooling costs from 15 to 35 percent in central and southern climate zones by filtering in visible light and filtering out heat waves.
• Sip lemonade and think cool thoughts — like how you'll be freezing next winter and longing for summer again.
The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, economy, and national security.