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Tips to Help Save Energy During the Summer Swelter

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Article courtesy of the Clean Air Partnership

With the dog days of summer now settling in, the risk of poor air quality conditions is on the rise, as heat, humidity and intense sunlight react with hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide emissions to create ground-level ozone pollution. With much of the pollution we breathe coming from power plants and the burning coal that’s used to produce electricity, the steps we take to conserve energy can play a critical role in helping to improve air quality during the summer – and throughout the year.

As temperatures rise, the following tips can help reduce energy consumption and energy costs, as well as the related emissions resulting from energy use:

  • Turn up the thermostat – Set the thermostat to 78 degrees while at home and 85 degrees when outside the home, and utilize ceiling fans to help cool rooms while at home.
  • Install a programmable thermostat.
  • Use appliances wisely – Wash clothes in warm or cold water; line dry clothes whenever possible; run full dryer loads; run the dishwasher only when fully loaded and utilize the microwave for cooking, as it uses 2/3 less energy than a stove.
  • Replace air conditioner filters – Dry filters restrict airflow and cause the system to run longer.
  • Weather-strip, seal and caulk leaky doors and windows.
  • Seal ductwork – Leaking ductwork accounts for 25 percent of cooling costs in an average home.
  • Plant shade trees, shrubs and grasses around your home to reduce air conditioner use.
  • Pull down window shades to minimize heat or cold transfer.
  • Turn off appliances and lights not in use.
  • Utilize the energy-saving mode on office equipment.
  • Activate the power management features on computers, unplug power cords when not in use and/or use a power strip that can be turned off.

“The way we consume energy plays a significant role in the amount of emissions that are released into our air,” said Susannah Fuchs, Director of Clean Air for the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest and spokesperson for the Clean Air Partnership.
“That’s why our efforts to reduce energy are such an important part of the clean air effort. Luckily, these actions are easy to implement and can really go a long way towards improving our environment and the quality of the air we breathe.”

For information on the health effects of poor air quality and to learn about additional steps you can take to help reduce emissions and help the region breathe easier, visit the Clean Air Partnership’s website at www.cleanair-stlouis.com, find the organization on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @gatewaycleanair.

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