Save Energy and Stay Cool This Summer
There are many things I love about Europe, some are more obvious than others. For example, I love the food, the shopping, and the culture. Some of Europe's more subtle qualities include the fact that ice in beverages is considered taboo and that air conditioners are almost unheard of except in fast food restaurants and luxury hotels.
My brother who is an air conditioner junky hates this about Europe. However, I find it endearing and actually quite romantic. There is nothing like sitting in a penthouse hotel room in Rome with a squeaky ceiling fan overhead while drinking a tepid glass of bubbly water.
Europeans generally frown upon air conditioning, maybe because most buildings have interior walls that are two feet thick or maybe they are just more in touch with their inner environmentalists and understand that the best way to save energy is by using less of it. During the summer months in the United States, over half of a family's energy bill is used for cooling according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
That means air conditioners are cranked up, more ice is being made, and people are in their swimming pools more frequently. If energy consumption is higher, not only are the costs higher for you but for the environment as well. Consider these conventional and unconventional ways to use less energy this summer:
During really hot days, keep your shades and drapes closed. Doing this early in the day helps keep unwanted heat out of your home.
Use a fan and keep your thermostat set to 80 degrees. Ceiling fans use about as much energy as 100 watt light bulbs.
If you don't have fans, set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees when out of the house.
To keep cool at night, soak a sheet or towel in room temperature water and drape it over you. Turn on a fan. You will be nice and cool.
Unplug appliances when not in use. Although the appliances may not be turned on, they still sap energy.
Shorten operating time of pool filters and automatic pool sweeps.
Replace air conditioning filters once a month. Clogged filters restrict air-flow making the air conditioner work harder.
Fill up your fridge. When you fill up your fridge with food, less energy is being used to keep your food cold.