Unplug and Play
Beat boredom and go outside this summer to enjoy the sun and fresh air after unplugging all of your devices. Almost every house across America is subject to this so called "vampire effect"- where electricity is consumed by a device while turned off or on stand-by simply because it is plugged into an outlet. This translates to more than $200 added to an average annual electric bill.[i] Unplugging saves you both energy and money!
Sweaty Summer Solutions
Summer is hot, and hot means sweat. And after a long summer's day, a bath is no doubt appealing. However, use that opportunity to switch to showers – and shorter ones at that. Baths can use up to twice as much water as low-flow showers in the same ten minute period.[ii]
Go Green with Sunscreen
You may ask: “How is my sunscreen in any way influential?” Well, for starters, using the proper spf can significantly reduce your chances of sunburn and skin damage. Additionally, the most common type of suncreens, chemical sunscreens, often contain chemicals such as oxybenzone, which can cause skin irritation in humans and is highly toxic to ocean corals and other marine life.[iii] Learn more about which types of sunscreen are both safe and effective here. And when your sunscreen runs out, be sure to recycle the plastic or metal container.
Quench your Thirst for Fun
Summer time becomes so much more pleasurable when you are well hydrated. See guidelines on how much to drink here. Take a little time out of your enjoyment to occasionally gulp down a few sips of water to rejuvenate your body and make the most of the time spent in the heat. Bring along your reusable water bottle to save money and avoid plastic.
Pick Up After the Picnic
Recall the proverb, "Leave a place better than you found it." Same thing applies to the lovely outdoors during the summer time. Enjoy nature through hiking winding trails, wading in creeks, or lounging at the lake – but remember to clean up afterwards! Pick up any stray waste items used during the excursion, including biodegradable materials like fruit or veggie peels. Use the Leave No Trace Seven Principles. If you’re enjoying a picnic, be sure to use reusable plates, cups, and flatware, or if that’s impossible, recyclable or compostable items.
Be Window Wise
Don’t forget to close the windows when the air conditioning is on and vice versa. Turning down the shades during the sunnier hours of the day to prevent heat gain is also very effective. Following these simple practices will not only help conserve energy, but also keep dollars in your pocket.
Dry it All Out(side)
Summertime’s sweaty temps mean more loads of laundry. Instead of dumping them straight into the dryer, consider hanging the laundry out to dry. According to an estimate by the U.S. Department of Energy, clothes dryers account for almost six percent of a household’s annual electricity consumption.[iv] So save yourself some money and line dry your clothes in the summer sun.
Nothing Better than a Home Cooked Meal
Summer is prime time for all activities outdoors – even eating. This summer, however, focus on eating locally from your community. Farmers’ markets and local producers are a great place to start. The food products are generally fresher and tastier. Additionally, the average meal today uses up to seventeen times more petroleum derivatives and gas emissions compred to a meal bought locally.[v] So support your regional producers and your tastebuds with local products.
This blog was written by Opportunity Now interns Sarah Habibi and Trinity Bass