Conserving energy is good for the environment, and also an easy way to keep money in your wallet. Summer is a great time to focus on conserving natural energy- and we’re not talking about afternoon siestas, although naps sound like a good idea too! Here are several ways to reduce your energy consumption this summer:
1. Ditch the dryer and hang your clothes outside to dry. Turn dark clothes inside out to keep them from fading in the sunlight. Your clothes will smell summer fresh and your electricity bill will take a nosedive.
2. Focus on eating locally. Check out the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, or give your green thumb a run for its money by planting a small garden in the backyard of your Ann Arbor home. Not a lot of yard room? Grow vegetables and herbs in small planters on the balcony of your Ann Arbor condominium. Eating locally grown and produced food reduces fuel consumption used when transporting products across the country.
3. Become a bike commuter. The warm summer months are the ideal time of year to use your own pedal power to get you back and forth from work. Don’t forget to pack a bike lock, and throw a plastic bag over your bike seat in case an unexpected shower pops up.
4. Take a “stay-cation.” Enjoy a summer Michigan vacation in the Great Lake State. Staying close to home will give you more time to enjoy your vacation, rather than traveling to get to your destination. You’ll also cut down on the amount of gas you use, not to mention the cost of a plane ticket.
5. Cook multiple meals at once and reduce the time your oven is on. You’ll keep your house cooler and save on power at the same time. Cook a bit more than you normally would, and use the leftovers for a second meal. If you’re roasting a chicken, have one meal of chicken, potato salad and corn on the cob, and use the leftover chicken for a chicken Caesar salad the next day. Utilize a toaster oven or a grill for cooking when possible, as these generally use less power than a full-size oven.
6. Scout garage sales for back-to-school clothes and school supplies. Freecycle yahoo groups and the free section of Craiglist.com are also good places to find recycled treasures. Using new-to-you goods reduces the energy and packaging required to make new products.
7. Enjoy local summer fairs and festivals instead of the TV. Power down the television and get outside to enjoy the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, Top of the Park, Art Fair, and the many events in the Washtenaw County area. Bonus points if you bike or take a bus to get there!
8. Turn off the lights and open the curtains. Keep your shades closed if the sun is pouring in the windows, in order to reduce the heat inside your home. But, when the sun moves, throw open the shades to let natural light in.
Use these easy tips to reduce your energy consumption and feel good, knowing you’re doing your part to help the environment. And now, about that siesta…
Image courtesy Flickr: Professor Bop