hot hot hot!

Louisiana summers are always brutal, and this week is no exception. Today's high in Lafayette is 100, with a heat index of 108, and heat precautions are plentiful.

Energy conservation is always important, but moreso in the summer. When the days are hot and the sun is brutal, energy grids take on extra stress from people cranking air conditioners on top of regular electrical use. Conserving energy helps you, your electrical bill, and the energy grid. You can help relieve some of the strain on the grid. A few summers ago, Lafayette Utilities System warned everyone of possible rolling blackouts if electrical use wasn't conserved. If the system gets too strained, then everyone loses power until the grid can come back up - and no one wants that when it's 100 outside!

So, here are some of my easy suggestions (and practices I use) for energy conservation in the summertime:

  1. Turn your thermostat up while you're at work during the day. Energy demand is at a peak when the sun is the hottest, and that's during the day, while you most likely aren't home. Turn up your thermostat so the air conditioner won't run as often while you aren't there to enjoy its benefits. In the evenings, the energy demand is not as high because the sun isn't as strong. 
  2. Wash your clothes in cold water, and only use the dryer at night, when the energy demand is not as high.
  3. Use CFL lightbulbs. Not only do they use less energy, but they give off less heat, helping your air conditioner have to work a little less.
  4. Use thermal curtains if possible. If you don't have thermal curtains, just keep your windows closed and regular curtains drawn tight. Anything that helps to block out the sun will help keep your home cooler, and help reduce the work of your air conditioner.
  5. When cooking, try to use the oven as little as possible. It helps keep extra heat out of your kitchen and your home. Plus, eating food you don't have to cook helps to keep YOU cool! This past weekend I made a delicious summer salad with corn, tomatoes, avocado and a cilantro dressing. It didn't require any stove, oven or microwave use. 
  6. Give your hair and hair appliances a break! Skip the blowdryer and other appliances sometimes. I have very thick, naturally curly hair, and in my blow-drying and straightening process, my bathroom heats up quite a bit. But I've decided to forget to even attempt to straighten my hair - because my hair and Louisiana humidity do not get along, and because I can keep my apartment cooler by not using heat products. It's so much easier to let my hair go natural than spend time and use nonessential electricity trying to straighten it.
  7. While vehicles aren't on the energy grid, another way to stay (more) comfortable in the summer is to invest in a windshield sun shade. If you have to park your car in the sun during the day (like I do), the sun shade helps to keep the inside of your car from being ridiculously hot. The other day, my car was outside for 3 hours in the afternoon. When I got back in, my thermometer said it was 117 degrees outside, but it wasn't impossible to breathe thanks to my sunshade, and the air conditioner helped cool off the interior quicker.

And here are some other sources with tips:
By putting some of these tips into practice, you can help make your summer a little less unbearable!

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