How to efficiently cut cooling costs and green your home

Published 8:24 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010

With the arrival of warmer weather, it can be a challenge to keep your home cool and comfortable, yet keep your energy bills in check. By taking steps now to make your home more environmentally friendly, you’ll not only help save natural resources, but you’ll save money, too.

With air conditioners and appliances running throughout the summer, it’s easy to burn up energy and raise costs. In fact, the energy used in the average house is responsible for twice as many greenhouse gas emissions than the average car, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To help you get started in “greening” your home, American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning offers these tips.

Pre-set indoor temperatures. One of the easiest and simplest things you can do is install a programmable thermostat. It will allow you to cut cooling costs up to 6 percent for every degree you raise your thermostat in the summer. Some models allow you to pre-set temperatures for every day of the week to match your family’s comings and goings.

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Reduce energy, increase home comfort. For efficient air conditioning, make sure your system meets the newest government energy standards.

Many energy-efficient air conditioner models meet efficiency requirements for a federal energy tax credit when installed as part of a complete system. Thanks to the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, homeowners may be eligible for a tax credit if they purchase certain heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems by Dec. 31.

Lights out, costs down. Increasing your lighting efficiency is one of the fastest ways to decrease your electricity bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Turn lights off when you leave the room or add in a dimmer to see instant energy savings. Installing an occupancy sensor that automatically turns lights on and off when someone enters and leaves the room will also save energy and money.

Shut out high energy bills. Your exterior door may be contributing to your home’s overall energy usage. Newer models often fit and insulate better than older models and replacing your old door often reaps both energy- and money-saving benefits.

Other simple savers. Even small acts of green can make a difference. The DOE recommends simple savers such as turning off your computer and monitor when not in use; lowering the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees; taking short showers instead of baths and washing only full loads of dishes and clothes. Visit for more ideas.