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As the summer temperatures rise, here are some ways to keep your electric bill low while also helping to save the environment!

Dear Reader,

Summer is finally here! While the amount of fun we have rises during the summer, the amount of electricity we use also spikes during the dog days of summer. However, there are some simple and easy ways to save energy. It may seem daunting, but with the following eco-friendly tips, you can save money that can be used on updating your summer wardrobe and make a big difference in our environment without sacrificing any of your comfort.

Do you remember a day you have spent without lights, air conditioning, or even worse, your phone? Chances are, you can’t. Technology has evolved rapidly within the past century, as our daily lives are now completely dependent on having electricity, whether it’s for lighting and cooling or for social media. Earth’s continually growing population has combined with humanity’s increasing reliance on technology to result in increasing energy consumption.

The increasing consumption of electricity has not come without consequences. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 80% of all energy comes from the burning of fossil fuels. Excessive burning of fossil fuels like coal has already had, and will increasingly have, far-reaching consequences to our Earth, including Climate Change and air pollution.

However, it is not too late for us to take action and protect our only Earth. Below are some easy, energy-saving habits anyone can adopt to help.

Tip #1:

When doing your work or just lounging around the house, try and use natural sunlight instead of artificial lighting. Just by opening the blinds and using the light from the sun, you can not only light a greater portion of the room, but you can save money on your electrical bill as well. According to the electricity company BC Hydro, turning off one standard 60-watt bulb for four hours a day results in a $9 saving over a year. $9 may not seem like a lot, but think about how many lightbulbs are in your house or apartment! By simply opening the curtains every once in a while you can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save up more money for your next summer vacation.

Tip #2:

Now, you might be thinking: what about at night? Well, another easy, yet impactful trick you can use is to switch out your incandescent light bulbs for a CFL or an LED light bulb. A CFL and LED produces the same kind of light that an incandescent light bulb does; they just use much less energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical CFL uses about one-fourth the energy and lasts ten times longer than a comparable traditional incandescent bulb that puts out the same amount of light. Even better, LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. That’s a lot of savings! CFLs and LEDs may cost slightly more than incandescents up front, but they easily recoup the price difference in months and help you continue to save money and the environment for years to come. Just don’t forget to turn off the lights when you exit a room!

If you don’t know what kind of light bulb you have, check out the following link

Tip #3:

Do you unplug electronics like the TV or your phone charger when you’re not using it? Although it may seem like an unnecessary hassle, anything that you leave plugged in (toasters, coffee makers, etc.), even if it is off, will continue to use electricity from your outlets. According to the US Department of Energy, this phenomenon, called “vampire energy,” accounts for 10 percent or more of your electricity bill. Accumulated over a year, leaving appliances that you turned off and aren’t even using could cost you more than $50 according to BC Hydro. What a waste right? Thankfully, there are simple ways you can save that $50 or more. One of the best ways to cut out vampire energy is to plug as many of your appliances into power strips as possible. Power strips are widely available and many of them cost less than $10. Then, whenever you aren’t going to be using any of those electronics, you can just switch off the power strip to ensure that you aren’t wasting any more money and electricity. For the electronics you can’t fit onto the power strip, you can just manually unplug that electronic whenever you aren’t using it, like unplugging your phone charger whenever you aren’t charging your phone.

Tip #4:

In the summer, every minute spent in the oppressive outdoor heat feels like torture, whether you are in Houston or in New York. For that reason, we definitely are not telling you to not use air conditioning to save energy! However, there is a simple way you can have your A/C use less energy while still feeling just as cool whenever you are indoors. According to the National Resource Defense Council, using a ceiling fan can make a room feel 10 degrees cooler and uses only 10 percent of the energy of a central air conditioner. By turning on your ceiling fan, your air conditioning won’t need to work as hard and use as much energy to cool down the room, since the ceiling fan is helping it out. Pretty cool right?

Tip #5:

Lastly, don’t forget that using water uses electricity too. Therefore, if you follow any of our tips on our last article about saving water, you can save money and electricity as well!

That’s it for our simplest tips to help you save money and save the environment at the same time! All of the above habits are easy to implement in your daily lives, and by doing so, you can play a part in protecting our Earth to ensure that future generations can experience the same Earth we see today. It may not seem like it, but it really doesn’t take much to be a conservation hero!

-Giselle Estrada, Green Generation member