June 21 marks the first official day of summer. But temperatures across the country have had most of us feeling like it’s already the middle of steamy August!
With the rising temps, your first thought is likely to crank up the AC. This will be followed quickly by your second thought, which is how this looks on next month’s energy bill. And we hope your third thought concerns the impact on the environment. As the summer solstice approaches, here are three sustainable measures you can take to shrink your carbon footprint and decrease your energy bill.
Cool Your Home Naturally
Create a cross breeze by opening windows that bring cool air in, change the direction of your ceiling fans (counter-clockwise in the summer months), keep your blinds closed, plant shade-giving trees, sip cold drinks, dampen your sheets before going to bed, and don’t use appliances that give off a lot of heat (instead, barbecue outdoors and hang your clothes outside to dry). These tips will allow for natural cooling in your home, without expending additional energy.
Celebrate Solar Power
The summer solstice is the day that the sun sits highest in the sky, with its rays angled directly overhead, delivering its greatest amount of power. Many people celebrate this day and the power of the sun by partaking in sustainable activities and championing the benefits of renewable energy, notably solar power. Solar energy and other sustainable energy sources provide tremendous long-term benefits (for both the environment and your energy bill) for those willing to accept the upfront costs of purchase and installation.
Purchase Renewable Energy Credits
Despite your best efforts to decrease your energy use and adopt renewable power sources, there will be days when your carbon footprint gets away from you (think cell phone use, television viewing, air travel, use of private, local transport, etc.). That’s where Renewable Energy Credits come in. Also known as RECs, these credits can be bought and sold and are equal to 1 megawatt-hour (enough to power 330 homes for an hour) of electricity created by a renewable energy source. Click here for more information on RECs and how to purchase your own on a one-time or subscription basis.
For more news on the environment, climate change and spending the summer sustainably, visit the terrapass Footprint Blog, where each week we’re posting new articles to keep you updated and informed. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, where we’re always sharing tips and information on living an eco-friendly, green lifestyle.