Summer is nearly here, and for many Chicago-area residents, the hot weather means turning up the air conditioner – and running up the electricity bills. The Community Energy Cooperative’s Summer Energy-Saving Workshops will offer strategies for saving energy and reducing summer electricity bills, while still staying comfortable. The workshop will include energy-saving tips for residential electricity customers, including advice for Cooperative members who participate in the Energy-Smart Pricing Plan, a unique program that gives consumers access to hourly energy prices. Space is limited, so please RSVP by calling (773) 269-4037.
Tuesday, May 25, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Park Forest Village Hall, 350 Victory Drive, Park Forest
Wednesday, May 26, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (presentation in Spanish)
El Valor, 1950 West 19th Street, Chicago (Pilsen)
Saturday, June 5, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (Spanish translation available)
Gail Borden Public Library, 270 North Grove Avenue, Elgin
Saturday, June 12, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (Spanish translation available)
Center for Neighborhood Technology, 2125 West North Avenue, Chicago (Wicker Park) Complimentary breakfast included at this location only
Monday, June 14, 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Mather’s – More than a Café, 3235 North Central Avenue, Chicago (Northwest Side)
Top Summer Energy-Saving Actions
Here are a few energy-saving strategies that can help you keep your electricity bills under control over the summer. If you are participating in the Energy-Smart Pricing Plan, you can maximize your savings by cutting your energy use when prices are high during summer afternoons, especially on days when you receive a high price notification. You can check daily energy prices at http://www.energycooperative.org/espp/prices/.
Go Easy on the Air
Running an air conditioner takes a lot of energy. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, heating and cooling cost the average home owner around $600 a year, nearly half the home’s total energy bill. You can save energy on air conditioning by setting your thermostat to the warmest temperature that feels comfortable, turning it off when you don’t need it, and using the summer tips below.
Keep Air Conditioners in Shape
Keep your air conditioner running efficiently by cleaning or replacing the filters. If you have a central air conditioner, be sure to clear out the area around the compressor to allow air to circulate.
Don’t Cool Empty Rooms
Close doors and vents to unused rooms while running the air conditioner. If you have a central air conditioner with a programmable thermostat, program it to suit your lifestyle and cut cooling costs when you’re not home. Change the temperature setting or turn the air conditioner off if you will be gone for an extended period of time.
Keep Your Cool
You can reduce your need for air conditioning by taking some simple steps to keep cool air in, and heat out. Good home insulation is an excellent investment; it cuts down on both cooling and heating costs. You can also keep out the some of the summer heat by closing the shades on the sunny side of the house during the day. On cool nights, open the windows to cool off without air conditioning. And of course, when you do run your air conditioner, remember to close windows, doors and chimney dampers so you won’t send cool air (and money) out the window.
Fans use far less electricity than air conditioners. Use fans to keep cool, or use them in conjunction with your air conditioner to circulate cool air and make your home more comfortable.
Don’t Create Heat
Lights create heat and consume electricity. Turn off lights you’re not using and replace halogen or incandescent light bulbs with cooler and more energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Try keeping the kitchen cool by preparing cold dishes like salads or sandwiches, or use a microwave or slow cooker instead of the oven or stove.