Summer is supposed to be a relaxing time but it is also a time to prepare for winter. And you should do it wisely and in an eco-friendly fashion. Whether relaxing at home or off exploring the great outdoors there are many ways people can save money, cut energy costs and continue to protect the health of their families while still enjoying the summer. EPA has suggested several options:
1. Energy Star savings for your home: The average home spends almost 20 percent of its utility bill on cooling. These cooling bills can be lowered by simply changing out incandescent light bulbs with EPA’s Energy Star qualified lighting, which use less energy and produce approximately 75 percent less heat. Raising your thermostat by only two degrees and using your ceiling fan can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent too.
2. Increase your gas mileage: Obey the speed limit; go easy on the brakes and avoid hard accelerations; reduce your time idling.
3. Prevent skin cancer and be SunWise: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. Do not over tan, acclimate slowly to the sun to avoid excessive burning, do not stay in the sun without a suitable protective sun tan lotion.
4. Heading to the beach? Check the water: Learn more on how to plan a safe trip to the beach and check out state specific beach advisory and closing notifications.
5. Take EPA’s apps with you on your smartphone: The AirNow app gives location-specific current air quality information to use to protect your health when planning daily activities and the Ultraviolet (UV) Index app provides daily and hourly forecast of the UV radiation levels from the sun so you can better prevent overexposure to the sun.
6. Protect yourself with insect repellents: Mosquitoes and ticks can carry diseases but you can protect yourself by choosing the right repellent and using it correctly. Read the product label before using; apply just enough to cover exposed skin and clothing; and look for the protection time that meets your needs.
7. Water wisely: A large percentage of water we use at home is used outdoors. As much as 30 percent of that outdoor water use can be wasted due to evaporation by watering in the middle of the day. Water in the morning when winds are calm and temperatures are cool.
8. Check into an Energy Star hotel: On average, America’s 47,000 hotels spend more than $2,000 per available room each year on energy. Look for an Energy Star certified hotel–they perform in the top 25 percent of hotels nationwide, use an average of 35 percent less energy and emit an average of 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than peers.
9. Season firewood: Summer is a great time to season firewood in preparation for fall and winter. Remember to split firewood to the proper size for your wood stove or fireplace, but no larger than 6 inches in diameter; stack firewood to allow air to circulate around it; cover the top of the stack to protect it from the rain; and store your firewood for at least 6 months before using it.
10. Looking for a summer project and tired of the heat? Try composting: Composting can be a fun and educational summer project that saves landfill space, helps feed the soil and prevents methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
For further information see EPA.
Article by Andy Soos, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.