Tips on Summertime Green Living

Summer is a season of high energy and high energy usage. Efforts to keep cool, maintain the landscape and swimming pool and enjoy all the season has to offer can result in high utility bills and other extra costs, including costs to the environment. Being green this summer doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun or comfort. 

Stay Cool
It’s nice to flip on that AC when the temperature starts to rise, but there are other ways to keep the house cool and reduce dependency on air conditioning:

  • It’s not always necessary to cool an entire home if you are spending most of your time in one or two rooms—ceiling fans to the rescue! Electric ceiling fans are far more energy efficient than central AC and they give you more control over your energy use
  • Close the drapes during the heat of the day to keep the house cooler         
  • Prepare two meals at a time to reduce both energy use and the amount of time spent in a hot kitchen
  • Turn off the air conditioning at night and open the windows. You may not feel comfortable sleeping with windows open, but letting the evening breeze cool your home before bedtime may be enough to help everyone sleep comfortably

Green Your Sunscreen
Did you know the chemicals used in some sunscreen are hazardous for the environment? A widely used chemical called oxybenzone has been shown to damage growing coral and increase coral bleaching. It’s estimated that 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen enters the world’s coral reefs every year. Look for sunscreen made from natural ingredients instead.

Party On!
Backyard parties and cookouts are a highlight of the summer, but they can also generate tons of unnecessary waste. Around 60 million Americans barbecue on July 4th alone according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s a lot of paper plates! Make your summer parties more environmentally friendly with these suggestions:

  • Fill pitchers with ice water and lemonade instead of serving drinks from cans or bottles
  • Purchase biodegradable or reusable plates, cups and utensils or at least buy products that are made from 100% recycled materials
  • Set out markers so guests can write their names on their cups to reduce waste
  • Place clearly marked recycling receptacles where guests can see them
  • Serve locally grown food products and avoid any pre-made foods that come in a plastic or foam container

Enjoy the Sun
Take advantage of the sun’s power. Hang clothes on the line to dry, make sun tea and grow your own vegetables, even if it’s only a pot of tomatoes on the patio. All the little things you can do to reduce energy use or waste really do make a big impact.

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