Staying Cool And Saving Green
Published: August 1st, 2016
By: Sen. James Seward

As we approach summer’s peak, there is no doubt that steamy weather and warmer temperatures are here. With that, it’s a great time to take steps that will help you stay cool and keep energy bills in check.

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has offered a number of great tips over the years to help inform people about steps they can take to use less electricity but still keep cool throughout the summer. By employing various energy efficiency strategies, residential and business customers can control their summer energy costs, protect the environment and assist the state in meeting peak electricity demand.

As a matter of fact, just a few days ago the governor directed the PSC to take immediate steps to lower statewide energy use. Agencies across the state implemented energy reduction protocols that were expected to reduce demand significantly.

Consumers are also encouraged to utilize some of the following no-cost energy saving measures:

Close drapes, windows and doors on your home's sunny side to reduce solar heat buildup;

Turn off air conditioners, lights and other appliances when not at home and use a timer to turn on your air conditioner about a half-hour before arriving home. Use advanced power strips to centrally “turn off” all appliances and save energy;

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If purchasing an air conditioner, look for an ENERGY STAR qualified model. ENERGY STAR air conditioners use up to 25 percent less energy than a standard model;

Fans can make rooms feel five to 10 degrees cooler and use 80 percent less energy than air conditioners;

Set your air conditioner at 78 degrees or higher to save on your cooling costs;

Place your air conditioner in a central window, rather than a corner window, to allow for better air movement;

Consider placing the unit on the north, east or the best-shaded side of your home. Your air conditioner will have to work harder and use more energy if it is exposed to direct sunlight;

Clean the cooling and condenser fans plus the coils to keep your air conditioner operating efficiently and check the filter every month and replace as needed;

Use appliances such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and ovens early in the morning or late at night. This will also help reduce humidity and heat in the home;

Use energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs instead of standard incandescent light bulbs, and you can use 75 percent less energy;

Microwave food when possible. Microwaves use approximately 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens;

Dry clothes on a clothes line. If using a clothes dryer, remember to clean the dryer’s lint trap before every load;

Be mindful of the different ways you’re consuming water throughout your home. Instead of using 30 to 40 gallons of water to take a bath, install a low-flow showerhead, which uses less than 3 gallons a minute.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) also offers a range of residential programs to help make energy efficient upgrades in homes – good for summer and winter. NYSERDA works with certified contractors who can give your home a full energy assessment. You receive a detailed list of recommended improvements that can include everything from added insulation and energy efficient lighting to a high-efficiency heating system and ENERGY STAR® certified appliances.

Many of the programs are free. Additional information is available online through NYSERDA’s website at