This coming Friday, April 22, is Earth Day. And while there will be many great community events, from picking up trash to planting trees, there are also easy things to incorporate into your daily routine to make every day on Earth Day.
Tips to save energy
Fuel prices are up. So are gas and electric prices. The Department of Energy, utilities and others have tips for saving energy and money.
spring and summer:
1. Service your air conditioner or swamp cooler. Replace or clean the air filters.
2. On cool mornings and evenings, open windows to take advantage of natural cooling – but make sure you have a secondary locking system to prevent access to your home.
3. Use ceiling fans along with raising the thermostat by 2-4 degrees (78 or higher in summer). Run fan counterclockwise for a downdraft.
4. Cook outside instead of using ovens in the home. Indoors, use a toaster oven or microwave rather than standard oven when possible.
5. Use window coverings to reduce the heat gains.
6. Seal cracks and openings to keep warm air out.
7. Take advantage of natural light as much as possible and switch off interior lights.
8. Turn the thermostat up when you leave home, or use a programmable thermostat.
9. Seal your duct work.
10. Switch on bathroom fans to suck heat out, turn off when done.
1. Change to LED light bulbs. In addition to your regular retailers, Habitat for Humanity Restore has LED bulbs for sale at times.
2. Wash your clothes in cold water. Use the air-dry cycle on your dryer.
3. Don’t peek in the oven. The temperature can drop as much as 25 degrees and has to heat back up.
4. Ensure outdoor lights are off during the day.
5. Turn off electronics when not in use – computers, monitors and other home office items.
6. Unplug unused TVs, coffee makers, toasters, cellphone chargers and other electronics.
7. If you have an extra refrigerator or freezer in the home, do you really need it? Can you reduce use to special occasions?
8. Clean condenser coils on your refrigerator or freezer every three months. Set the temperature to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Home rebates, discounts
See pnm.com or your rural utility provider website for rebates and discounts available.
PNM offers a free home energy checkup in person or by video call, 1-855-775-6491. PNM can provide information on energy-saving devices and rebates, and the utility offers a free comprehensive analysis of your air conditioner’s performance and will suggest any needed repairs. See pnm.com for details or call customer service 888-342-5766.
Tips to save gasoline
1. Don’t be a lead foot.
2. Perform maintenance as recommended. Rotate tires and keep them inflated.
3. Glide to a stop at stop signs, red lights.
4. Organize your errands to avoid multiple trips or backtracking.
5. Drive the speed limit. Aggressive driving is a waste of fuel. Use cruise control on the highway.
6. Avoid excessive idling. If you are waiting in line more than a minute or two, turn off your vehicle.
7. Ride share/car pool.
8. In warm weather, drive below 55 mph and open the windows and leave the air conditioning off. At faster speeds, close the windows and use the air conditioning.
9. Remove extra weight. If you were carrying sandbags for the winter, take them out. Take off the roof cargo box if you don’t need it.
10. Take the first parking spot you see, don’t drive to find a better one.
11. Use an app to find a good gas price, within reason – don’t drive across town for gas.
12. Take public transportation. Use The Zero Fare program for Sun Van, ART and ABQ Ride – call 311 or see cabq.gov for information. There is a trip planning tool on the website to help you plan your commute. And through July 31 the Rail Runner slashed fares 75% (that’s just $2.50 to go round trip from Albuquerque to Santa Fe on a day pass), and it does offer free fares to veterans and active military. See riometro.org or call 866-795-7425 for more information. Be aware of mask requirements.
13. Enjoy the outdoors – walk or ride a bike when possible. Combine public transport with riding your bike to destinations.
Tips to be water wise
The Water Authority has xeriscape rebates at $2 per square foot of turf removed. Also offered are treebates, irrigation efficiency rebates, and rainwater harvesting rebates. Call (505) 842-WATR (9287), option 4 for conditions. Online Water Smart Classes are offered, and qualifying participants will earn a $20 rebate on their water bill. There is more rebate information at abcwua.org.
Spray irrigation is not allowed between 11 am and 7 pm from April 1-Oct. 31. It’s recommended landscaping watering be just two days a week in April and May, increased to three days a week in June, July and August.
To conserve water:
1. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving.
2. Use a bowl of clean water to wash fruits and vegetables rather than running water.
3. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator rather than running the faucet for cold water.
4. If washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running.
5. Use leftover coffee to water your plants.
6. Fix a leak.
7. When replacing a water fixture, choose those with WaterSense labels.
Sources: energy.gov, directenergy.com, pnm.com, cabq.gov, riometro.org, abcwua.org