With Earth Day just around the corner, it’s time to think about our everyday actions and their impact on the environment. There are small things we can all do to make a difference!
Warmer weather and upcoming summer days in particular offer plenty of opportunities to be more mindful of how we use energy. We’ve collected some helpful tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint and stay on budget this season.
STAY COOL FOR LESS
Your air-conditioner can be a lifeline during the hot, humid days of summer. Unfortunately, it can also be a major source of energy and costs if used inefficiently. Here at InTown Suites, we’ve made strides to make our properties more energy efficient by installing external control systems to keep each unit comfortable when you’re home and save energy when you leave. This is an easy practice to employ in your own home too, but even without a programmable thermostat, there are ways to make sure your home appliances keep your space cool and comfortable. Try setting you air conditioner at 78 degrees for energy efficient operation when you’re at home and setting it 85 degrees or higher when you’re gone. Or, turn the air-conditioner off and use fans to move air throughout your house to drop the internal temperature by 5 degrees.
Another option is to minimize the use of all appliances that generate heat. Smaller appliances like microwaves, toaster ovens, and slow cookers are great ways to heat and cook simple meals, without the energy and heat generating output of the oven or stovetop. Unplug unnecessary heat producing electronics like computers, televisions, stereos, lamps and curling/straightening irons—many of these items draw constant power, even when turned off.
CLEAN YOURSELF AND YOUR HOME, NOT YOUR SAVINGS
Water is one of the world’s most valuable resources, yet it’s also one of the most easily wasted. At InTown Suites, we’re limiting water waste by installing water-saving shower heads, low flow toilets and faucets. These are easy upgrades that can be found at your local hardware store, but if you’re renter and not in the market for new fixtures, there are still ways you can save water.
The easiest way to save on water is to turn down the temperature! Water heating accounts for nearly 20 percent of the energy used in your home and with warmer weather on the horizon, there’s no need for scalding hot water. Turn your water heater to the warm setting and try to use cold water when you can—most laundry can be washed on cold. Limit the amount of time you use your water and save the dishwasher and washing machine for when you have a full load.
Lastly, get hip to peak energy hours and use energy smartly. Run your dishwasher and washing machine at night and let your dishes and clothes dry au natural to keep the heat out and your costs down.
KEEP THE WARM OUT AND THE COOL IN
Making sure all the gaps in your doors and windows are sealed is a great way to stay cool this summer. Using weather stripping, door sweeps and insulating foam covers on electrical outlets, like we did in our newly upgraded suites, will help make sure cool air doesn’t escape and will also ensure pesky flies stay outside.
Natural light is both your friend and enemy when it comes to energy savings this season. Use indirect light to brighten your home and keep the lights offs, but make sure to guard against unwanted heat. If you’re a homeowner, consider planting trees on the south and west sides of your home to produce shade during the warmer months. Renting but still eco-conscious? Use light blocking shades and curtains for the same effect.
TIDY, UPGRADE AND SAVE
New evolving technologies make it easier every day to be greener. Recently, we began to upgrade our air-conditioning and heating units at InTown Suites to be more energy efficient and we’re loving the results! We realize a large upgrade like this is not always possible, but there are still many things you can do to make your existing appliances work their best.
It’s important to make sure appliances are clean and clear of all obstructions, especially those with vents. Dust buildup is not only unpleasant; it could be stopping your appliances from working properly. Vacuum, sweep and clear the vents of your air conditioner, fridge, and freezer. Clogged lint screens and dryer vents are two culprits that not only slow down drying, they can cause fires, so make sure to regularly remove any buildup.
Did you know that only 10 to 15 percent of the energy consumed by incandescent bulbs is turned into light? The rest is turned into energy zapping heat. That’s why here at InTown Suites we’ve made the change to energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs. It’s quick, won’t break the bank, and is much more sustainable.
It’s easy to save energy and money with just a few changes to your home and routine. Are you taking steps to be greener? Tell us! We’d love to hear your tips and suggestions to help make the earth a little bit greener everyday.