How to save money, help the environment, and reduce our dependence on foreign energy in one simple step

Want an easy way to accomplish all of this? Read on. You can do it.

My mother recently clipped out and sent me an article from Time magazine written by Joe Klein.  The article, entitled Kill You Air Conditioner aptly summarizes my own philosophy towards air conditioning and energy usage.  In it Klein writes:

"The unnecessary refrigeration of America has become a chronic disease. It seems to have gotten worse over the past few years, with thermostats routinely set at 68 deg., and sometimes even 65 deg., in the (far too many) hotel rooms I've suffered on the campaign trail. 'Americans seem to keep their houses cooler in summer than they do in the winter,' muses Edward Parson, an environmental expert at the University of Michigan Law School."

Like Klein, I also don't mind keeping rooms a little warmer, especially if it's going to save me money and conserve energy.  I also think its ridiculous that movie theatres, malls, car dealers, etc. are so cold that I need to bring a heavy shirt sometime to be comfortable.  I assume they've done studies that show people are more likely to spend when they are cold, but still, the chill is a bit much.

Raising the temp on your thermostat will save you money.

"Lee Schipper of the University of California, Berkeley estimates a savings of 4% for every degree warmer you push your thermostat. If you're set at 70 deg. now and move it to 75deg.—a comfortable, if slightly chilly number to my mind—you save 20% of the cost and energy of your air-conditioning bill."

The benefits exceed just cost savings.  Every BTU of electricity saved is less greenhouse gas pollution.  It also reduces fossil fuel energy consumption and our need for foreign supplies of oil.  So by raising your thermostat a few degrees you're helping out in the war against terror.

Go ahead, give it a try.  Heat it up a bit and start saving.

Sam Cass
Sam Cass: Sam Cass, MBA, JD, University of Texas at Austin. Always a fan of Leonardo Da Vinci.

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