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Ten tips for an energy-efficient summer

Wednesday, August 4th 2010 2:21:52pm

Ten tips for an energy-efficient summer

The second heat wave of 2010 has hit. As the temperature soars into the high 30’s, so does the temptation to crank that air conditioning.

Unfortunately, air conditioners use a lot of energy, which is hard on the environment and your wallet. According to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the twenty top days for electricity use in Ontario have all been in the summer (www.ieso.ca/imoweb/media/md_peaks.asp.) We may have long winters but we also endure some pretty hot weather, and it shows in the pattern of our energy consumption.

So here are some eco-friendly, cost-effective ways to beat the heat:

• Use ceiling or portable fans to encourage air flow. Even mild air movement can make it feel three or four degrees cooler.
• Use smaller appliances for cooking that don't generate as much heat.
• Keep windows and curtains closed during the day, and open them at night. This will allow cool evening air into your home that won’t escape in the day time.
• Make sure your fireplace damper is closed so cool air doesn’t escape  through the chimney.
• Shade south-facing windows with a tree or an awning. Blocking out direct sunlight keeps your house cooler.
• Use energy-efficient LED lights. They’ll save you money and produce less heat than incandescent bulbs.
• Make sure your home is properly insulated to prevent cool air from escaping. Use blower-door guided weather-stripping or caulking.
• Install a programmable thermostat. This way you won’t be cooling the home while you’re not even there, saving electricity costs.  
• Run dishwashers and washing machines in the evening when it’s cooler. Not only will you be more comfortable, you’ll also be taking advantage of off-peak usage rates.
• If you do have an air conditioner, make sure it’s Energy Star qualified. You can maximize your energy savings by shading the unit with shrubs, or by installing it on the north side of your house. Remember to insulate the ducts, too.

If you’re planning to do major renovations, you should get an energy audit first. The audit will tell you how you can make your home as energy-efficient as possible and qualify you for available financial incentives. For more tips, or a quote on GreenSaver's energy audit, visit www.greensaver.org or call (416) 203-3106.

For further information, please contact:

Allison Wallis, Marketing Manager, GreenSaver, 416-203-3106 x234

is an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to environmental energy efficiency. They pioneered Ontario residential energy conservation over 25 years ago with economically viable and environmentally friendly measures to help individuals and organizations with their energy needs (www.greensaver.org).