Ten basic no-cost or low-cost ways to stay cool, save energy, reduce emissions 


As we enter the hot days of summer with temperatures over 90 degrees, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources reminds consumers of some simple no-cost or low-cost energy-saving tips to help keep cool, conserve energy, and reduce utility bills.

“There are some basic steps we can all take to reduce our energy use over the hot summer months,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “These measures are kind to both our pocketbooks and the environment. Reducing energy use decreases carbon emissions from burning coal and petroleum products, and this has a positive impact on our air and water quality.”

Check out the following 10 tips to keep cool, save money, and help prevent unnecessary power outages by easing high demand on electric power this summer:

• Close curtains and blinds and pull shades during the hottest times of the day to keep the hot sun out.

• Set your thermostat to allow your house to be warmer than normal when you are away. When you are at home and need cooling, adjust your thermostat to 78 degrees (or higher), or to the highest setting that allows you to be safe and comfortable. A programmable thermostat will make this easy.

• Keep doors and windows closed when cooling your home.

• Keep air conditioner coils clean and free of dust and dirt to increase the efficiency and life of your air conditioner; replace filters regularly.

• Use fans to produce a wind-chill effect and reduce air conditioning demand. Turn the fans off when not in the room.

• Enroll in utility energy-saving programs (such as air conditioning “saver” switches) to get discounts on summer electric bills.

• Use a microwave instead of an oven to cook. Ovens take longer to cook and can make your house warmer, requiring more of your AC system.

• Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. Air-dry dishes and dry clothes outside.

• Take short showers — with low-flow showerheads — instead of baths to reduce hot water use.

• Turn off lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and computers and monitors when not needed or not in use.

Getting a home energy assessment requires a fee, but it is a first step to identifying a wide range of energy-saving measures. Gas or electric utilities can arrange energy assessments and often underwrite some of the cost.


— Information provided by the MN  Dpt.  of Commerce