Saving energy can be a year-round exercise. We depend on energy for warmth in the winter as much as we depend on it for keeping cool in the summer. That means there are plenty of opportunities to save energy in the summer that may also save you money. Below you'll find some ideas on how you can save energy in the summer while surviving the heat.
According to a 2019 survey by Energyrates.ca, one in three Albertans has an air conditioner in their home. Based on the results of the 2016 Census, that equates to nearly 1.4 million units operating in homes across the province. If you’re one of the many people with an air conditioner, you might be able to save energy in the summer by maximizing the efficiency of your unit.
To do so, consider the following ideas:
• Turn your air conditioner off at night. Opening windows in the summer costs nothing and saves energy compared to running your air conditioner 24 hours a day. Keep your windows open in the evening and overnight to allow cooler air into your home, and don't forget to turn off your air conditioner. Close the windows during the day to keep the cool air in and the warm air out.
• Turn your thermostat up while you’re away from home. The closer your indoor home temperature is to the outdoor temperature, the less energy you’ll use. When you get home and want to cool off with the air conditioner, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 26°C.
• If you use a standalone air conditioner, close the door to the room where you’re using it. This will help trap the cool air where you want it and stop the unit from continually running as warm air enters.
There are energy-saving tips for summer that apply to many areas of your home. You'll find a few examples below that may help your bottom line while still keeping you cool during the warm summer months.
• Consider installing an automatic setback thermostat that turns off your air conditioner at night. Doing this will help you avoid those costly mistakes that arise when you forget to turn it off before going to bed.
• Use a ceiling fan in tandem with your air conditioner. According to Natural Resources Canada, when you combine the two, you can turn your thermostat up two degrees and save up to 14 percent on air conditioning costs.
• Consider upgrading the windows in your home. Look for windows with low-e coatings, argon gas fill and insulated spacers to help trap the cool air inside while keeping the warm air out.
• Another example of how you can save energy in the summer is to cover your windows during the day. Before leaving the house in the morning, make sure you close all of your blinds and curtains to keep the sun’s heat from penetrating your home.
• Use awnings and overhangs to keep the sun out of south-facing windows in the summer, then take down the awnings so the sun can shine in during the winter.
• Did you know that a reflective roof could reduce the roof surface temperature, depending on your climate? A reflective roof may prevent the sun's heat from transferring into the home or building.
By making these changes to your home, you can lower the overall temperature of your house and may have to use your air conditioner less. With less air conditioner and fan use, you might just enjoy cool savings this summer.
Finally, you may be able to save energy this summer by making changes to the foliage around your home. Consider these energy-saving tips for the summer:
• Those living in rural areas can save on energy costs by planting trees and shrubs as windbreaks. Even a few well-placed trees can make a difference.
• Strategically position plants and trees outside your windows for shade from the heat of the sun. According to Utah State University, planting the right trees in the right places can help you save energy by keeping your house cooler, thus reducing the need to turn on the air conditioner.
Note: These tips are suggested as general practices.
Actual results may vary. When you’re thinking about ways to save energy in the summer, spend some time reviewing all areas of your home. Start with your air conditioner and make your way through the list of suggestions above. You can also take a look at our different energy plans to see if there’s potential for extra savings this summer. Stay cool!