A Guide to Staying Sustainable this Summer

The temperature outside is rising, which means we’re cooling off inside this summer. There’s no doubt it’s a bit trickier to be sustainable when it’s hot outside. We pump up the air conditioning that consumes a ton of energy, take more showers, and we’re probably taking more weekend trips and vacations (hello emissions!). Read on for tips on how to beat the heat and stay green this upcoming season.

Conserve Energy

It’s no secret that air conditioners consume A LOT of energy, which is why your utility bill skyrockets in the summertime. According to Energy.gov, homeowners spend $29 billion on air conditioning, which equals approximately 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere every year! That is a staggering number, so do your best to keep the A/C off for as long as you can. Instead, use a fan to cool down your space when possible and keep windows open if there is a breeze.

Energy Star
Energy Star is a government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, which makes it easy for consumers to identify products that are not only cost effective, but better for the environment. Look for the Energy Star label when buying appliances, electronics, and even light bulbs as Energy Star items use less energy than traditional models.

LED lights and smart powerstrips
Speaking of lightbulbs, Energy.gov tells us that LED, or light-emitting diode, can be up to 6 to 7x more energy efficient than a regular light bulb and can cut energy use by more than 80%. Not only that, but these bulbs can last 25x longer—efficiency at its best!

On to power strips. It may seem alarming, but many electronics use energy even when they’re turned off and still plugged into an outlet. Here’s where the “smart” power strip come in. This innovative tool helps reduce energy usage by automatically turning off outlets that aren’t in use but may still be plugged in. Find them at your local hardware store or online.

Draw the shades
Another way to keep cool that doesn’t require using energy at all is to close the blinds and curtains. There are even energy efficient ones you can purchase with a special lining that reflect the sun in the summer and absorb it in the winter. This will stop you from reaching for the thermostat as often!

Use Fewer Heat Producing Appliances

If you like to cook and bake it can be more difficult in the summer since a hot oven creates a hot kitchen. If you do need to use the oven, make sure you prep your dishes before you turn it on. Chop, slice, and dice ahead of time so when the oven is ready you can pop in your dish right away to ensure minimal use.

And the best way to beat the heat in the kitchen? Focus on cold dishes like yummy salads! Here are some of our favorite recipes:

Szechuan Cold Noodles

Southwest Couscous Salad

Summer Tortellini Salad

Travel the Eco-Friendly Way

Bring your reusables
If you plan on taking a getaway this summer,make sure you’re prepared with all your reusables. We suggest a reusable water bottle, cutlery set, and stainless steel straws to start!

Bike, walk, or public transit
The first thing many of us think of when going on vacation is how we’re going to get around and sight see. Whenever you’re staying in a big city with a sufficient public transportation system, opt for that way of traveling over renting a car. Taking a train or bus is always more eco-friendly than driving, and in many cities the buses are electric so you don’t have to worry about any emissions! If you’re traveling to a place where a car is necessary to get around, consider renting a hybrid or even an electric car. Looking for something even better? Bike or walk around the city!

We hope these tips help you feel more prepared for a hot summer. As always, try incorporating some of these eco-friendly methods into your lifestyle and eventually they will feel like second nature (pun intended)! Every small step counts in your journey to sustainable living. Feel free to comment below with any questions or ideas that you have!  

Nicole Grossberg
Author: Nicole Grossberg

Nicole Grossberg is a freelance writer with a passion for sustainability and doing her part to save the planet. She’s usually seen with a reusable water bottle, coffee tumbler, or stainless steel straw—no single use plastic allowed! When she’s not writing you can find her at a Yankee game, in the kitchen cooking, curled up with a good book, or drinking iced coffee. She currently resides in Astoria, NY.