Four tips for an energy-efficient summer

Now that winter is over and the days have become longer, it’s likely you’re not using as much energy. After all, there’s less need to run your furnace, and around the solstice you may not even need to turn the lights on until well after dinner.

But summer is no time to take a vacation from our efforts to become more efficient in the way we use energy: using energy-efficient products in your home will help save you money and keep you more comfortable throughout the hottest months of the year.

Here are four ways you can save energy—and save money—in the summer.

Switch to a smart thermostat

If you haven’t already, switching to a smart thermostat is a great investment—especially in summer. A smart thermostat uses sensors to learn you and your family’s daily routine, and adjusts the temperature in your home automatically to accommodate you.

For example, there’s no need to run the air conditioning if no one is going to be at home: a smart thermostat can turn off the air conditioning after you’ve left, and turn it back on just before you come back, saving money and energy all day while ensuring your home is always comfortable whenever you’re in it.

Energy Efficiency Alberta is offering a $100 rebate on the purchase of a qualifying smart thermostat, through the Online Rebates Program.

Keep the heat out, and the cool in

You may be leaking hot air into your home—or air conditioned air out—through poorly-sealed or inefficient windows.

Searching around the windows of your home for drafts, then sealing with caulk or weatherstripping is an excellent first step in ensuring that you’re not air conditioning the whole neighbourhood.

If you want to go even further, consider replacing any existing, inefficient windows with energy-efficient ones such as ENERGY STAR® triple pane, low-e, argon windows. This will not only reduce energy loss and increase air-tightness—beneficial in both summer and winter—but will reduce noise from the road and even increase the value of your home.

Energy Efficiency Alberta is currently offering rebates of up to $1,500 for the installation of new, energy-efficient windows in your home. Rebates are based on window size and energy savings.

Only do laundry when you have a full load

With more BBQs, patio afternoons, and outdoor sports, it’s no surprise that you may find yourself doing plenty more laundry in the summer than in the winter.

Your washing machine uses about the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load, so waiting until you have a full load to do laundry will help save on the number of times you have to run the clothes washer, and therefore the overall energy use in your home—and saving on energy saves you money.

Further, consider upgrading your clothes washer to an energy-efficient model. Energy-efficient washers use less energy—and less water—than conventional models. Because they use so much less energy over time, an energy-efficient clothes washer will easily make up the difference in price from a conventional clothes washer, ultimately saving you money.

Energy Efficiency Alberta is also offering a way to help make up the difference in price between energy-efficient clothes washers and conventional ones—a $100 rebate on the purchase of any Consortium for Energy Efficiency Tier 3-qualifying clothes washer.

Use a smart powerbar

If your home electronics—your TV, PVR, DVD player—are plugged in all the time, it’s likely that they are drawing a small amount of power all the time as well.

Saving energy saves money, which is good all year long, but why is having your electronics on all day a particular problem in the summer? It’s because, like lightbulbs, your electronics use some of the energy they draw to give off a small amount of heat, making your home uncomfortable or causing you to use more air conditioning—and more energy!

You can save on energy and make your home more comfortable by using a smart powerbar. Smart powerbars offer a way to keep drawing power for electronics that absolutely need to remain on all the time, while cutting power to the ones that don’t. This will cut down on your energy bills, and let you use your air conditioning less. You’ll live better and use less energy.