National Commentary

Congress Moran’s News Commentary: Conserving Energy This Summer


This coming weekend marks the first official day of summer and with it, heavy household cooling costs. Rising temperatures coupled with above average energy prices make at home energy efficiency a key to keeping utility costs low. The Department of Energy has outlined a few simple methods to beat the heat without breaking the budget, so you can increase your home’s energy efficiency while reducing energy costs.

More than half of a family’s monthly utility expenses are allocated toward cooling a house during the summer months. The most energy-efficient inexpensive way to cool a home or apartment is through ventilation. While there are newer, more efficient air conditioning systems, multi-level homes can benefit from simple attic ventilation because it reduces the stress on existing AC units. Moreover, caulking or weather stripping windows and doorways help keep hot air out of living areas.

One simple solution to conserve power is utilizing power strips for household appliances that continue drawing power even after being turned off. Power strips will protect your appliances from electrical surges caused by summer thunderstorms and sharply reduce the amount of energy consumed. You can also get rebates for purchasing new ENERGY STAR-qualified environmentally-friendly appliances. Cutting energy costs means many small steps, like hang-drying clothes to take advantage of the warm weather, have a big impact at the end of the month.

Computers and laptops also use large amounts of energy. By using the “sleep mode” function when you are not using the computer for longer than 20 minutes, whether at home or at work, you will actually save energy and increase the life of your computer. Some ENERGY STAR monitors can reduce energy consumption to less than 10 percent when using “sleep mode.”

You can get a lot more miles per gallon out of your car by practicing safe and sensible driving habits. Some estimate that every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is equal to an additional $0.30 per gallon for gas. Aggressive driving reduces gas efficiency at highway speeds by as much as 33 percent. Even making sure your tires are properly inflated can increase your miles per gallon by over 3 percent.

Most importantly, riding your bike, running, and using public transportation are also perfect opportunities to take advantage of the warm weather while contributing to cleaner, more efficient energy. These are just a few simple solutions that can help reduce your monthly energy expenses.