Green Your Summer: Rising Temperatures Don't Have to Mean a Bigger Carbon Footprint

By Amanda Cunningham on July 17, 2014 from Green Your Summer via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Waste Management reminds local area residents that even though temperatures are rising this summer, your energy bill and carbon footprint don’t have to.  Follow these tips to help you go green while still staying cool.
 
Did you know that the average home spends $1,900 on energy costs every year, and air conditioning costs can make up around 16 percent of this?  Finding alternative ways to keep cool are essential to being sustainable. 
 
One of the easiest ways to save money and energy is to set your thermostat no lower than 78º when you are at home, and at 85º or off when you are away.  Each degree below 78º will increase your energy use by up to 4 percent.
 
Another great alternative is to install an overhead ceiling fan.  Fans can make you feel three to eight degrees cooler, allowing you to set your AC to a higher temperature and still feel just as cool.  An overhead fan usually cost less than a penny an hour to run.  Central AC costs seventy times more to run than a fan.
 
Maintaining the doors and windows in your home can also provide big energy savings.  Make sure they are well sealed so the cool air doesn’t escape from your home.  Do-it-yourself weather stripping for doors and caulk for windows is cheap and easy to install, and can decrease your energy use by around 2 percent.  For energy savings as high as 10 percent, replace windows with ENERGY STAR® models to keep your home comfortable year round.  Make sure to draw drapes and blinds too, as direct sunlight can raise the temperature of a room between 10-20 percent.
 
Another way to reduce energy consumption and cut costs is to reduce heat generated by lighting.  Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, and generate 70-90 percent less heat.  However, used CFLs do not go in the trash. Also, turn off the lights when you leave a room help save energy and keep a room cool. 
 
Finally, planting trees is a great investment, as it can help you save money on energy costs in both summer and winter.  Trees planted near your home can cut your cooling bills by 15 percent to 35 percent, and a line of trees planted as a windbreak can lower your heating bill 10 percent to 20 percent.  Plus, if every family in the U.S. planted one tree, we would reduce atmospheric CO2 by a billion pounds every year.
 
So remember, keeping cool this summer doesn’t have to be at the expense of your wallet or the planet.  By adopting small changes to your daily routine and making simple improvements to your home, you can make a big difference.  To learn more about how simple changes can make a big impact in going green, visit www.wm.com.


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