Summer is here, and with Utah’s trend of record-breaking temperatures, it’s bound to be a hot one. The warmer it gets, the more we rely on energy intensive, fossil fuel burning AC units to cool our homes and buildings. It is estimated that up to 6% of all energy use comes from air conditioners alone, releasing around 100 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year.
So, what are some ways to limit AC usage and improve overall efficiency to reduce environmental impact? The first thing you can do is think about replacing your older unit with something more energy efficient, which will not only help reduce individual emissions but also significantly lower the cost of your energy bill. Evaporative or swamp coolers, for example, are often more efficient than traditional air conditioners. If your unit isn’t in need of an upgrade, behavioral actions, like keeping the temperature higher on your AC, can also save energy.
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your overall need for air conditioning, improving your home’s insulation and sealing around windows can help keep cool air circulating indoors. Before turning on your AC, try using fans with ice in front of them, or using window “tuning” to improve airflow. Keeping shades and curtains closed or putting in solar screens can further reduce AC usage. The best part about finding ways to be energy efficient is that it’s a win for both the environment and your wallet!
By Olivia Beckstead