Eco-friendly tips for summer energy savings - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Eco-friendly tips for summer energy savings

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The sun's shining, the birds are singing, and the temperatures are rising - summer's all about feeling good. And while it can be easy to feel like you don't have a care in the world throughout the warm months, you should keep some things front of mind in order to enjoy the season even more.

Energy use typically skyrockets during the height of summer - with fans and air conditioners running and people dipping into their pools, costs rise right along with consumption. All that usage is hard on both the environment and your wallet, so making the effort to cut energy use and waste pays off twofold.

Keep these tips in mind to make your summer even more satisfying by saving on energy.

* Use your A/C wisely. While we'll long for these temperatures when winter rolls around, the heat of summer can sometimes feel like a bit too much. But instead of making your indoor temperatures Arctic, consider setting your thermostat for just a few degrees less than the outside temperature. Keeping your temperature at a level that's comfortable rather than chilly can translate to big energy savings. On cool evenings, turn off the air conditioning and open the windows to fill your home with cool, fresh air.

* If you're thinking "green," think "blue," too. There's nothing more refreshing than taking a dip into a cool swimming pool on a hot summer day, but pool pumps and heating systems can consume a lot of electricity. Some builders, like Blue Haven Pools offer to build in smart, energy-saving features like a microprocessor that regulates cleaning and filtration and even solar-powered heating systems. Blue Haven Pools also recommends using a cover or thermal blanket when your pool isn't being used, and adding windbreaks around your pool.

* Reconsider how you buy energy. While plenty of people switch phone companies with ease, the prospect of finding a different way to buy energy might seem daunting. However, exploring your options could save you a lot. In gas deregulated states, some companies give you the opportunity to not only buy energy at a competitive rate, but an additional opportunity to cut your bill or even make money, according to Chris Chambless of Ambit. Customers who join Ambit Energy can also earn rewards, in addition to greatly reducing the amount they spend on energy costs.

* Eliminate waste. It's not uncommon for households to be essentially throwing money away on energy. Lights that are carelessly left on can run up your electricity bill, and many household appliances and gadgets (like computers, phone chargers, printers, etc.) can still sap energy, even when they're turned off. Be sure to unplug electronics that are not in use - it's a simple step that can help conserve energy.

Taking a few simple steps to save energy is a great way to be more environmentally friendly, but it's also one of the easiest things you can do to cut household costs over the long term. And when you know you're doing both of those things, your summer can be more carefree than ever.