In the hot summer months, I rarely open the weather app on my phone because I already know what it’s going to say: “A mix of clouds and sun. A stray afternoon thunderstorm is possible. High 90 degrees.” As great as it might sound to crank up the AC and remain inside during the hot Statesboro summers, we should be mindful of how much energy we are using and the impact we have on the environment.
Listed below are tips on how to go green and save energy (and money) this summer!
- Select a comfortable temperature for you AC and stick to it. If you share your living space, talk with your roommate about a comfortable temperature for everyone and come to an agreement as to what the AC should be set to. Constantly changing the thermostat can increase your energy bill. Speak to the leasing agents or maintenance employees at your dorm or apartment about AC setting suggestions.
- Clean your AC filter. Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. If possible, replace filters monthly for maximum efficiency.
- Use darker curtains to block out the sun beaming into your room. On the other hand, open those curtains and use natural sunlight rather than flicking on a light switch.
- Unplug items that aren’t in use and when you leave your home. This includes TVs, video game consoles, DVD players, and anything else that has a light that indicates that it is on or in standby mode. We might not think about unplugging our chargers when we are done charging a device. Even though they don’t have an on/off switch, phone and laptop chargers are always on and using energy.
- Plug in all items that don’t need to be constantly connected to a power source onto one surge protector. When you leave the house, turn the surge protector off to save energy and money.
- Use those microwave instructions on your favorite frozen foods. Microwaves use two-thirds less energy than a stove.
- Run the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer only when full. Washing multiple laundry loads? Don’t use the dryer after each clean load has finished. Rather hold off until you have enough washed items to fill up the dryer.
- Take a reusable tote bag with you when you shop. Some stores will give you discounts for doing this. Starbucks gives a discount on beverages when you purchase and use their $1 reusable coffee cup!
- Catch the bus, carpool with a friend, walk, or ride a bike to class. Removing just one car from the road saves the same amount of greenhouse gases as recycling nearly 2 tons of waste.
- Replace your light bulbs with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LEDs). These use about 25-80% less energy than traditional bulbs.
Did you know that Georgia Southern has over 600 recycling bins located on its campus? The university collects items such as paper, cardboard, aluminum, batteries, cell phones, inkjet/laser jet cartridges, paint, light bulbs, scrap metal and motor oil. The Center for Sustainability is an excellent resource for more environmental wellness information.
Want to understand how your lifestyle is impacting the planet? Use this footprint calculator to find out your ecological influences. You might be surprised by the results…