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Four Simple Ways to Use Less Energy This Summer
By Sam Cooper
Summer is almost here, and while summer holds the promise of longer, sunnier days, it also means increased power bills and carbon emissions as we run air conditioners in our homes.
Try a few of our easy, quick, and mostly free tips to keep your power bill at a reasonable level this summer. Your wallet will thank you, and the planet will thank you for your decreased carbon emissions.
1. Install Energy Efficient Lightbulbs
Incandescent bulbs are inefficient. You can save electricity and money over the long term by replacing those incandescent bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs or LED bulbs. Both have become quite affordable in recent years; LEDs convert more power to light.
LED bulbs cost more than CFLs, but are even more efficient at converting energy into light. A 15-watt CFL bulb will last for 10,000 hours and cost $1.20 a year to run for two hours a day, according to Department of Energy data. An LED bulb would last for 25,000 hours and cost only $1.00.
2. Use Shade Strategically
Cooling your home by blocking out the sun is called passive cooling, and you don't need any technical expertise to do this. Just install curtains or shades — whichever best suits your home.
Heat from direct sunlight makes your air conditioning work harder than it needs to. A bit of shade indoors will go a long way to keeping your home naturally cooler — saving a lot of money!
You can also go the extra mile by adding an inexpensive solar film to windows that get the most sunlight. It's a cheap way to save energy without closing out the natural light.
3. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water
Heating water for laundry takes a tremendous amount of energy. Also, it's usually unnecessary. Load up your washing machine and use a cold wash and rinse instead. You'll save a lot over the course of a year.
4. Use Fans to Supplement Air Conditioning
Central air is often the biggest energy expense in a home. However, column, box or pedestal fans use much less energy. Running a $20 desktop fan each night instead of full air conditioner will pay for itself within a year. Turning the thermostat from 78 to 76 will cost more than running the fans, especially if your home or apartment is poorly insulated or has an old air conditioner.
If you have a window fan, try running it in reverse. You can push your home's hot air out, instead of pulling the hot air outside back in.
Arcadia Power is a free service that is dedicated to creating a 100% clean energy future by making clean energy an easy choice. Arcadia Power is not a utility and their platform doesn't replace your utility. They simply connect your utility account to clean energy and find you ways to lower your monthly power bill.
Here's how it works:
1. Take 2 minutes to connect your utility account to Arcadia Power and sign up to pay your bill through their secure platform.
2. They'll match your energy usage with clean energy from wind farms and let you know when they find ways you can save money, all at no cost.
3. You get a single statement with your utility charge, details on your clean energy impact, and any savings credits from Arcadia Power. Plus, they never charge credit card transaction fees, so you can earn points with each utility bill.
It takes just 2 minutes to sign up. That's it. Plus, you'll get $25 off your next power bill when you sign up this month.
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Saving the Ozone Layer 30 Years Ago Slowed Global Warming. Can Similar Cooperation Now Solve the Climate Crisis?
The Montreal Protocol, a 1987 international treaty prohibiting the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to save the ozone layer, was the first successful multilateral agreement to successfully slow the rate of global warming, according to new research. Now, experts argue that similar measures may lend hope to the climate crisis.