UNT Office of Sustainability offers tips for surviving summer
DENTON (UNT), Texas -- The triple-digit heat has arrived causing energy bills to sky-rocket. The Office of Sustainability offers the following environmentally-friendly tips to help combat the summer heat without breaking the bank.
- Before leaving the house turn your thermostat up to 80. The peak time for energy use is between 3:00 and 7:00 pm. This is when the electrical grid gets bogged down the most. If everyone tries to conserve some energy when away from home, then hopefully the rolling blackouts that were necessary last year can be avoided.
- Turn off unnecessary heat-producing devices. Incandescent light bulbs are a big heat generator. Home electronics also generate heat, so make sure to shutdown electronic gear when it is not in use. The best method is to plug everything into a power strip, and then turn the entire strip off when the devices aren’t in use. This also saves energy and money by reducing "phantom" power – the energy your electronics consume when turned off but still plugged-in.
- Wash and dry clothes when the day is cool. Do laundry early in the day and late at night. Don't forget clotheslines or drying racks: they generate no heat in the house.
- Skip your dishwasher's dry cycle. Rack your dishes and let them air dry instead.
- Replace your air-conditioning filters. Clean filters in window units. You should do this every month, so keep a stock of filters on hand.
- Buy a dehumidifier. EnergyStar says a 40-pint unit will save up to $20 a year and last up to a decade. Moderating your home's humidity — in addition to making you feel cooler — will reduce musty smells and the growth of harmful molds.
- Shade your air conditioner. If your air conditioning unit is in full sun, then it has to work harder. Also make sure that air flow is not obstructed.
- Close your blinds. Close your blinds and curtains during the day to block the sun's heat. As soon as the sun hits your building in the morning, close all windows and keep exterior doors and windows closed throughout the hottest part of the day.
- Cook with a microwave instead of the stove or oven when possible. If cooking over the stove, use the smallest pots and pans needed to cook your meal, your food will cook quicker, you'll conserve energy and you'll produce less heat.
- Drink water frequently. Your body will feel cooler if you are hydrated. Try drinking eight ounces of water at least every hour. Adding mint leaves, or orange, lemon or cucumber slices to your water makes it more refreshing.
Additional tips for living green year-round can be found at the Office of Sustainability's Green Guides web page.