As we sweat through summer's hottest months, many of us are tempted to crank up the AC and cast off the prospect of saving energy until the heat wave passes by. However, maintaining a green-friendly home during seasonal peaks and lows is not as difficult as it seems. Try a few of these simple tips from window fashions manufacturer Hunter Douglas to help you save money while helping the environment too.
Amanda Lilly, McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers
Use a power strip. These can be used for more than just your computer — try them with your TV, DVD player and appliances. Turn everything off with one simple click and prevent these electronics from sucking up energy when not in use.
Add insulation to your windows. Up to half of a home's heating and cooling energy is lost through windows. Some kinds of honeycomb shades offer one solution for energy-efficient windows.
Service and clean your mechanical systems. Keep your heating and air-conditioning filters clean and replace fiberglass filters with reusable, washable ones.
Monitor your air-conditioning units. AC units in the shade use as much as 10 percent less electricity than ones placed in the sun. Also, when summer is over, stow away your air conditioner or use an insulated jacket to prevent drafts from sneaking through the units and into your home.
Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). Sure, they cost a little more, but they last almost 10 times longer and use two-thirds less energy.
Use natural light. Turn off lights and electronics when they're not needed. Also, take advantage of natural sunlight as much as possible.
Place lamps or TVs near your thermostat. The thermostat picks up the heat from these appliances, making the run-time of your air conditioner longer than necessary.
Do not try to speed up cooling. Setting your air conditioner to a cooler setting will not cool down your home any quicker. It actually takes the same time for the temperature to reach a desired condition whether the thermostat is set at 70 degrees or 60 degrees.