Dust off your sunglasses, put on your flip-flops, and fire up the barbecue – it’s summertime. For many people, this time of year not only brings long, sun-filled days, but also energy costs that seem to rise as quickly as the temperature.

The Marine Corps spends an average of $13 million more on electricity in the summer than in the winter.* There are several reasons the electricity bill can be higher in the summer:

  1. Increased use of electricity- As the temperature rises, A/C use also increases resulting in higher energy consumption.
  2. High summer energy rates- Utilities often charge higher rates during the summer to match electricity demand.
  3. “Peak load” pricing- During peak load times (often the middle of the day when it is the hottest), energy prices are higher than non-peak times because more power generators have to come online to support the increased energy consumption (a very expensive process for utilities).

Reducing the use of the A/C during the summer, especially during midday, and performing energy-intense activities during non-peak times can help minimize the impacts of these price changes.  

For some easy ways to reduce your energy use this summer, check out these tips:

  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees – stay cool by wearing lighter summer clothes, especially cotton and linen. Save even more energy by turning off the A/C when you are not home.
  • Close all windows and doors while the A/C is on – ensure that expensive, cooled air does not escape from your home. If there are any leaks, try to get them fixed.
  • Close blinds and curtains during the day – help keep your home cool by minimizing direct sunlight – solar heating raises the temperature of your house, just like it warms the inside of a car during the day.
  • Use a fan to stay cool – just remember to turn off the fan when you leave the room (fans cool people, not air).
  • Reduce your use of artificial lighting – take advantage of those long summer days by seeing how long you can go without turning on the lights.

To continue soaking up the savings this summer, check out this A/C infographic and consider performing a DIY energy audit

Now that you know how to reduce your energy bill, start tackling some of your other expenses. The Personal Financial Management Program offers workshops and seminars on more than twenty money management topics. To learn more and find a workshop near you, click here.

*Average price spent on electricity by the Marine Corps in July through September compared to January through March since 2003.