Verde Energy’s over time have more than 250,000 residential and business customers throughout New England and the Midwest enjoy fixed natural gas and electricity options from a company committed to supplying products, services, and customer reward programs centered on renewable, green energy. The company is equally dedicated to furthering the cause of public education on a full range of issues involving energy and the environment.
While cold-weather energy needs are a major concern, American energy customers concerned about sustainability and reducing their energy costs also look for information on wise energy consumption during the summer months. This has become particularly true in recent years due to historic spikes in average summer temperatures.
According to recent surveys, as much as 50 percent of an American consumer’s summer home electric costs can be driven by air conditioning. Fortunately, experts have offered a variety of tips for reducing summertime energy costs, specifically regarding cooling and air conditioning. Read on to learn more.
Reduce heat gain
Reducing the amount of heat entering a home over the summer not only lowers energy usage but it increases comfort and enjoyment.
Windows are responsible for about 50 percent of a home’s heat gain in the summer, so this feature merits particular attention. Simple but smart actions to reduce a home’s heat load include keeping blinds and curtains closed during the day and purchasing window coverings with a lower shading coefficient for optimum ability to keep out the sun.
Painting exterior walls in lighter colors, meanwhile, is a way to both upgrade a home’s curb appeal and reflect the maximum amount of sunlight.
Also, consider adding exterior features such as trees and shrubbery, awnings, and screens set against windows that get a lot of sun exposure. Films and tints on windows can accomplish the same goal. By shading sun-exposed windows, homeowners can reduce the energy costs associated with air conditioning by as much as 25 percent.
Pay attention to vents and ducts
Leaving as many air vents open in a home as possible is another good but often-overlooked practice. If the air vents covering 10 percent or more of a home’s interior space remain closed, a pressure imbalance builds up, and with that comes reduced effectiveness of the home’s cooling mechanisms.
Be sure to also maintain your home’s ductwork and vents properly and keep all registers clean and clear. It’s a good idea to vacuum registers regularly and move furnishings and wall hangings from vents so that the passage of air isn’t blocked.
Synchronize your chores
Another helpful tip is to schedule household chores that generate moisture (doing laundry, mopping and scrubbing floors, etc.) during cooler times of the day. Doing this lessens the stress and strain on a home’s cooling systems.
Give your thermostat a tune-up
Setting the thermostat to between 78 and 80 degrees also gives a big boost to any home’s efforts at eco-conscious living. For each degree above 80, homeowners reduce energy costs associated with cooling by as much as 3 percent.
To kick this idea up another notch, try installing an automatic thermostat that can raise the temperature to 85 degrees for you while you’re at work or otherwise away from home. You can program the device to permit warmer temperatures when you’re out of the house and bring them down again before you get home. In addition, if you get a smart thermostat, you can program it on the go from your phone.
It’s a good idea to make sure thermostats are installed away from direct sunlight, which can cause thermostat mechanisms to think the room is warmer than it is and kick into gear. Likewise, it’s best to keep thermostats away from televisions, computers, and other electrical devices that generate warmth.
Look for leaks
Sign up for a home energy usage audit by contacting your local energy provider or a licensed contractor. A certified professional will be able to check your home’s usage and let you know where any leaks are found. You can even perform a mini-audit yourself. From outside, simply run a hand along the seams of all doors and windows (that you can reach). If you feel cool air escaping, you can have window areas caulked and doors insulated to reduce leakage.
Stay naturally cool
Installing a ceiling fan is another relatively simple way to stay cool and promote sustainability while adding elegance to a home’s decor. Just make sure the ceiling fan you select meets energy-efficient standards of operation. And remember: Fans keep humans and pets cool, not rooms, so it’s smart to turn them off when no one is in the room.
Simple elegance also meets energy reduction when you open your windows at night in place of running the air conditioner. As long as safety and comfort permit, a cool breeze can be a refreshing experience as everyone winds down for the evening.