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Spring into Energy Savings

April 14, 2009 - 6:00am


No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.
- Hal Borland

In my part of the country, winter seems to hang on an interminably long time. So I always look forward to the first signs of spring with unbridled glee. At the first glimpse of a cherry blossom, the winter boots are banished to the back of the closet and the sandals are put to work in earnest.

But while spring may give the perfect excuse to hang up the winter coat, the advent of spring does not mean that we can pack away thoughts of energy efficiency with our wool sweaters. Last winter, Jennifer Carter gave us a number of great energy efficiency tips for winter. Now that spring's milder temperatures are upon us and it's time to consider what energy efficiency means in warmer weather, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's new Stay Cool, Save Money website is a great resource for efficiency tips. The site has a wealth of no-cost and low-cost advice that can help you lighten your energy load without lightening your wallet. And, for those ready to make a more long-term investment in energy savings, the site has resources to help you make well-informed decisions to get the most bang for your energy buck.

The following tips provide a taste of the energy saving-strategies that the Web site has to offer:

  • As the days become longer, consider opening the curtains in your home to let in more natural light for indoor illumination. This is an especially useful tip if you haven't yet had the chance to make the switch from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lighting. Since nearly 90% of the electricity incandescent bulbs consume is turned into heat, leaving your lights off during the day can mean less work for your cooling system.
  • Anyone who's done a lot of cooking on a hot summer day knows how much your oven or stovetop can heat up your kitchen. As the weather improves, you might consider doing more cooking on your outdoor grill or in smaller kitchen appliances like your microwave or crock pot. Not only will this result in less overall energy usage while you cook, it will also mean less heating in your kitchen and thus less work for your air conditioner to do.
  • A warm spring breeze can help reduce your overall energy usage: you can throw open your windows to take advantage of natural cooling rather than using your air conditioner or you can use that breeze to dry clothes in the sunshine rather than in your dryer.

Remember, there's no need to wait until summer's heat is upon us to think about energy efficiency. Now's the time to stay cool, save money, and spring into energy savings!