NYC Subway Girl's tips for a cooler summer

This summer if you're serious about doing your part to reduce energy consumption due to the horrific oil spew in the Gulf, consider how much our energy use produces heat.  We heat things up artificially and then we need to cool them down artificially.  Sounds crazy but true. A life lived with concern for sustainability starts with reason. Reducing waste and energy is a reasonable place to start.

Here are NYC Subway Girl's top ten things you can do to keep things cooler AND reduce energy consumption this summer:

1) Turn off lights when not in use.  

2) Do you know how much heat comes off incandescent lighting? One solution is to switch to LED or CFC compact fluorescent bulbs (Kudos if you've already switched).  A quick solution is to pay closer attention to #1 above.

3) Turn cooling units to realistic temperatures. Just because you can, don't cool to need to wear a parka. 

4) Install programmable thermostats.  They come cheap and easy to program, set for moderate temperatures when away or asleep.  Portable A/C units come with programmable features too-upgrade it's worth it which leads me to #5.

5)  replace older model refrigerators, A/C units and other small appliances.    If you're reading this you're on a computer.  Imagine if you were still using a computer from 2000?!  Why hold onto your antiquated energy eating monsters just because "they're still humming"  That hum is the sound of heating up your room, a huge energy and money waste.  Remember anything that has to cool puts out heat. (ever stand near any one of these units you'll know what I mean).  Energy Star is a must, for A/C units look for ratings above a #9, #10+ is best. Refrigerators look at the listed annual cost of electricity posted inside the unit.

6) Close refrigerator door.  Don't poke around with the door wide open for longer than it takes to remove something. The unit will have to re-cool everything and the motors will heat up.  And keep the temperature reasonable, it's fun I guess, but ice-cream isn't supposed to be put in a microwave (wasting more energy in the process). 

7) Do not idle car while sitting in it, unless it's 105 degrees outside and your grandmother or elderly pet is with you forget about it.  The heat that is produced is excessive and the harmful emissions are not worth it. 

8) Unplug chargers and computers when not in use, they really heat up a lot and waste energy.

9) Do not use a dryer for your clothes. Hot, hot, and hotter.  Especially in summer, clothes dry quickly on a line, hanging over a shower curtain rod, or be cool and purchase a drying rack.

10) Turn off water when brushing teeth, soaping dishes, even washing your body in the shower. Water needs pumps, pumps use energy.  Hot water needs to be heated.  So, be mindful of excess water use. Replacing older model dishwashers and washing machines reduce water use by as much as 50%.


on 2010-07-15 20:29 by NYC Subway Girl

How to dispose of all those old electronics you've collected known as e-waste

It's important to recycle all appliances.  Most states and local communities have designated e-waste drop off days easily searchable online. Here's some info for New York  Before discarding appliances containing CFC gas or freon (such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, or dehumidifiers), you must schedule an appointment to place the item at the curb for CFC recovery. You can make an appointment on the Sanitation website or call 311. For safety reasons, the law requires doors to be removed from refrigerators and freezers before placing at the curb.

I found Green Up USA while trying to learn more about e-waste. Green Up USA Inc. is a non-profit, electronics recycling organization reaching out to organizations and communities to heighten environmental awareness through recycling and disposal fundraising events to support charities.