I can't believe how fast winter gave way to summer. Seems like just yesterday we were digging out from Snowpocalypse here on the East Coast, dealing with mountains of the white stuff and wondering if we'd ever be out of the deep freeze.

Well, now we are, and we have to make sure our homes and vehicles are ready for it.

First off, a couple very basic energy efficiency tips:

  • Close your curtains: sunlight, especially from east- or west-facing windows, can send our inside temperatures soaring, so close your curtains, blinds, what have you before you leave for work and open them again once the sun goes down. It'll help keep your cooling costs low.
  • Set your thermostat higher when you're not home: this is one we've talked about over and over, but it really does work. By setting your home's temperature to 72°F or above during the day, you reduce the amount of energy your air conditioning system uses. It'll save you money, really.
  • Keep your tires inflated and your engine tuned- an engine that is running at peak efficiency is, well, efficient; you'll save money by having a car that works at its best. Your tires' inflation is also an efficiency measure, saving you a bit of cash for every mile you travel.
  • Use your car's AC as little as possible- using the air conditioning costs you miles per gallon, so don't use the AC unless it's just too hot. (It's hard, I know—I lived in Arizona one year and didn't have AC in my car, so I know from not using AC in hot weather.)

Second, keep an eye on the Energy Savers site. There are a LOT of great energy efficiency tips you can find by going to Stay Cool, Save Money.

And last, enjoy the summer!

Drew Bittner is a former Presidential Management Intern (PMI) and the Web content manager for EERE's corporate Web pages.