Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring into Energy Savings

I hope you've had a chance to get outside at some point the last few days because the weather has been absolutely gorgeous. This weather is also the ideal time to save on your energy costs. We've challenged ourselves not to turn on any heat or AC during the month of April and hopefully part of May, and I promise we will be comfortable.

We learned a thing or two about cooling our home naturally living in Northern California. We had no AC but we didn't need it. Their weather is similar to Knoxville's right now about 8 months of the year: warm during the day but cool at night. When there's a 30 degree swing in temperatures that range from 55 to 85, here's how we avoid energy use.

First of all, we turn our programmable thermostat OFF. Once the sun is down and the temperature feels brisk, we open a few windows--preferably two that can create some cross ventilation through our house. We do this on the main floor and top floor but not the basement; it stays cool on its own. We close all windows on the ground level before we go to bed but keep ones on the top floor cracked throughout the night. We also run ceiling fans in all the bedrooms to circulate air.

In the morning the house feels a little cool but not cold. We then close all the windows by 8 or 9am and pull blinds on windows that get direct mid-day sun (south side). Our house stays comfortable for most of the day--maybe slightly warm by 4pm. We spend most of our time in the cool basement or outside. When it's Brooke's nap time, I just turn on a ceiling fan. And if the temps dip a bit one day, we'll just add a layer of clothes. No biggie.

While you're saving energy costs in your home, try doing the same in your car. Rather than turn on the AC, crack two windows to create a breeze. It feels better and saves you gas.

So give it a try: fresh air, lower bills, and a positive step for the environment.

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