TIPS FOR AN
Keeping Your Cool
Keeping your cool during the hot months can use a lot of costly energy. Here are some tips for maintaining a comfortable home ó and a lower energy bill:
Whole-house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They work best at night, when the outside air is cooler than the air inside.
Consider getting a programmable thermostat that will let you set the air conditioner to start half an hour before you get home. This allows you to keep the AC turned off when you donít need it.
Donít place lamps or TV sets near your air conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances.
Plant leafy trees or shrubs that shade air conditioning units but do not block the flow of air. An AC unit operating in the shade can use as much as 10% less electricity than the same unit operating in the sun.
Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your AC. A dirty air filter can lead not only to less efficiency, but can shorten the life of a unit.
Insulate your attic. A poorly insulated attic or windows that leak can lead to overworking your fans and AC.
Did you know that many guidebooks and web resources include environmentally-friendly vacation options? Whether you are planning a trip to a local park or to a jungle far away, keep some basic tips in mind:
Stay on the right path. Get quality, established trail maps from an information center or ranger station before you start trekking.
Try the unknown -- or at least the lesser known. Visiting a less well-known destination will minimize the crowds and your impact on the environment. Check out www.nps.gov for the full list of National Parks.
Leave no trace. Be sure to carry out what you carry in. Even orange peels and apple cores are bad for the environment (and give local critters bad habits) when every tourist leaves one behind.
Pick hotels, transportation, and travel agents that are members of the international Ecotourism Society (TIES) or have made green commitments like using natural building products and/or renewable energy.
Remember to do your part by turning off lights, asking if your hotel recycles, and being conscious of water use.
Use public transportation where available.
Want to visit a tropical jungle or remote village? Get more ideas on ecotourism on the Conservation International (www.ecotour.org) and Rainforest Alliance (www.rainforest-alliance.org) websites!
Written by: Earth Share. Earth Share, a nationwide network of Americaís leading nonprofit environmental and conservation charities, promotes environmental education and charitable giving in employee workplace giving campaigns.
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