Stay Ahead of the Heat: Top 5 Tips for Residents and Businesses to Save Energy (and money!) This Summer

The summertime sees both greenhouse gas emissions and energy bills skyrocket as both homes and businesses crank their air conditioning. As temperatures kick into high gear this July, it's vital to stay ahead of the heat and learn how to save energy and money while staying cool.  

1: Develop energy-efficient daily habits 

This is the best (and easiest!) place to start. Just a few tweaks to your daily routine can save a surprising amount of energy every year. Try out these sneaky easy tips as you cool down this summer: 

  • Set your ceiling fans to turn counter-clockwise in the summer to cool a room 
  • Change the thermostat 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit each time you leave the house for two or more hours, and then again when you go to sleep at night. 
  • Change your central air conditioner’s thermostat fan setting from “continuous fan operation” to “auto” so the fan runs only when cooling. 
  • When you’re at home or in the office, set your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for cooling and 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for heating. These temps may seem counterintuitive, but the U.S. Energy STAR program notes that most thermostats can’t actually reach the temps they are set to (like 60 or below) so setting them at these levels reduces energy use and maintains comfort. 
  • Use the fan setting on your window AC at night when the air outside is cool

2: Take advantage of incentives and rebates 

Devens offers reduced fees for renewable energy projects and can point you to state and federal incentives and rebates. Check out the Devens Climate Action Toolkit for Businesses to learn more. Save energy, save money! 

3: Don't shirk maintenance 

We all forget to do it! But make sure to check your air filters every month, especially during heavy use months like summertime. If the filters look dirty, change them! At a minimum, change air filters every three months. Dirty filters slow down airflow and make the system work harder, thereby wasting energy. Additionally, if your furnace or central AC equipment is more than 12 years old, consider replacing it with a more efficient unit (try an air or ground-source heat pump!). 

4: Seal, insulate, and weather-strip

Check for air leakage and seal around: 

  • plumbing, electrical, and ductwork in exterior walls 
  • chases open to spaces like an attic 
  • gaps between interior and exterior walls and ceiling sheetrock 
  • around sheetrock, including between interior and exterior walls, and where sheetrock is sealed to the subfloor 
  • floors, including cantilevered floors and band joist areas in floor systems  
  • knee walls in Cape-style homes  
  • joints between existing buildings and additions or modular buildings 

5: Lean on public resources 

This list is just a fraction of the energy-saving information out there. Check out the full (very detailed and exhaustive) Mass Save energy efficiency tips, and the Devens Forward Climate Action Toolkit for Businesses. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also offers a wide library of information on energy and environmental impacts.