It's officially summer! Well, no, it isn't, but we are so close!

That said, I began thinking about ways that I plan to save energy and energy costs at my apartment [1] in the upcoming months of unending heat and humidity.

One surprising thing I learned while doing a little research is that a full refrigerator naturally optimizes your energy consumption. Apparently it works like this: when you open the door, a stocked refrigerator will hinder the cool air from escaping and subsequently, the more items that take up space, the less air there is to have to cool.

I really can't think of a reason not to have a full refrigerator anyway, especially one that contains items that can and should be eaten chilled. Green salads and fruit medleys are healthy options—especially if locally and organically grown [2]—that can also decrease your energy use as they don't require the electrical appliances to prepare them. Plus, as many of us know, it is more comfortable to consume cooler foods during those torturous, over 100-degree days.

Though there are many tips for saving energy during the summer [3], this is just a simple way to conserve and one that I plan on trying out myself.

Kristin Swineford supports DOE's Weatherization & Intergovernmental Program in Communications & Outreach.