air conditioning

Celebrate National Ceiling Fan Day, and Save Money, Energy, and Protect the Climate! (NCFD)

Ceiling Fan

By: Alexander Ostrovsky, Esq

Happy Ceiling Fan Day! Never heard of it? Well, last year the ceiling fan company I work for partnered withceiling fan manufacturers from across the country, the American Lighting Association (ALA), ENERGY STAR, and several leading energy conservation groups to celebrate the first ever National Ceiling Fan Day. The purpose was to educate people about the energy and money saving qualities of fans—and it was a great success. This year we are celebrating again, to show people across the nation how using fans properly could save millions of kilowatts of energy. Are you ready to join in? Below are a few ‘fan facts’ to consider while celebrating NCFD:

  • Swap your existing fans with newer more efficient models: With the advent of Direct Current (DC) motors (which use up to 70% less electricity) and LED light kits, ceiling fans have become much more efficient than in years past. It may be time to retire your brass artifact for a newer more efficient model. Look at ENERGY STAR’s website for more information.
  • Fans are inexpensive to operate: If used properly, fans can cost as little as $12.00 – $20.00 a year to operate. The average home air-conditioning system costs up to $1,200 per year to operate. Help protect the climate while protecting your pocket book.
  • Use fans only when someone is in a room: Remember when your parents told you to turn off the lights when you leave a room? Get in the habit of turning off ceiling fans when you leave a room. Fans have no effect on the actual temperature in the room; they only have a cooling effect on your skin.
  • Use your fans in conjunction with your air conditioner: When you’ve come in from a hot day outdoors, it’s tempting to turn down your air conditioning (A/C) several degrees to cool off. Instead, try turning on your fan and in a few minutes, your body temperature will cool down. When you cool down, then change your A/C setting and still feel comfortable.
  • Fans can be used year round: Did you know that you can lower your heating bill if you use your fan in the winter? If you simply have fans on as they are in the summer, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. Check your ceiling fans for a reverse switch to run your fan clockwise, saving you money in the winter.

About the Author: Alexander Ostrovsky, Esq. works in Business Development at Fanimation, a ceiling fan manufacturer. He works on issues related to sales, marketing, and legal affairs. Alexander is passionate about advocating for the ceiling fan industry and the energy efficiency of fans.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Celebrate National Ceiling Fan Day!

ceiling fan

By: Jill Vohr

Today, September 18th is the first annual National Ceiling Fan Day.  If this is the first time you’re hearing about this, it’s probably because it is the first of its kind – but that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to take part.  Ceiling Fan Day is brought to us by one of our ENERGY STAR partners, Fanimation, with support from the American Lighting Association and the U.S. Green Building Council, among others, as well as EPA ENERGY STAR.

National Ceiling Fan Day invites everyone to join the fight to reduce energy consumption by turning off their central cooling systems and relying on ceiling, floor, desk and wall fans to save trillions of  kilowatt hours of energy consumption.  Studies published by Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that 94 million of the 113.6 million residential homes in the United States use air conditioning equipment, and 110.1 million use space heating equipment.  Using ceiling fans instead of air conditioning – or with less air conditioning – is an effective way to save energy since ceiling fans use significantly less energy than air conditioning.

EPA ENERGY STAR supports National Ceiling Fan Day to encourage energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change.  We also invite everyone to save even more energy on this day by using an ENERGY STAR certified fan.  Ceiling fans that have earned the ENERGY STAR label are 60% more efficient than conventional fans.  But remember to turn off your ceiling fan when you leave the room.  Ceiling fans cool people, not the room.

So, give National Ceiling Fan day a whirl – pun intended – and turn off your air conditioning and turn on your ENERGY STAR certified ceiling fan today.  You might be surprised how comfortable you can be, not only with the temperature, but also knowing you are helping protect the climate.

Jill Vohr is the Director of Marketing for the ENERGY STAR Labeling Branch. 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Clean Those Filters!

Haga clic en la imagen para unirse a la conversación en nuestro blog en español... ¡No olvide de suscribirse!

By Lina Younes

With the record temperatures that blanketed the country recently, I’m sure that many air conditioners were working at full blast to keep homes reasonably cool. However, there are many ways to ensure that you get the best use out of your air conditioner without blowing the budget on your electric bill. A useful tip to stay cool and to save money and energy while protecting your health? Clean those filters! By maintaining your cooling system regularly and cleaning those filters, you’ll increase the efficiency of your air conditioning and keep your house cool. Furthermore, the filter also helps to reduce dust particles in your home which in turn can be very irritating to allergy sufferers and those individuals who may be sensitive to dust like asthmatics. For a maintenance checklist on how you should check your cooling system regularly, visit the Energy Star website.

Other useful tips to keep your house cool and save money?

  • Well, install a programmable thermostat. This is ideal for families who may be away for the home during set periods of the day or throughout the week. If you use the pre-programmable settings regularly, a programmable thermostat could help you save up to $180 yearly in energy costs.
  • Install a ceiling fan and use it year round. By adjusting the ceiling fan according to the season (summer-counterclockwise and winter-clockwise) you can freshen the air and use the energy more efficiently. In the summer time you’ll feel actually cooler and in the winter you can feel warmer by reversing the direction of the blades. This allows you to save energy and money at the same time.
  • Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs which are more fuel efficient and produce less heat, thus allowing your home to stay cooler.
  • Even if you don’t own your home, we also have tips for renters to save energy and money while reducing the risks of climate change.
  • If you have many chargers or electronic equipment plugged in around your house, use a power supply as a central “turn off” point when these electronics are not in use.

So what have you been doing to stay cool this summer? These extreme temperatures make me wonder: what did we use to do when we didn’t have air conditioning in our homes?

About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, www.epa.gov/espanol . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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The Case for Green Tourism

Recently I participated in a green business conference focused on pollution prevention for the manufacturing and hospitality industries in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This was a joint effort between EPA, the Puerto Rico Solid Waste Management Authority, the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association, the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association, the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association, and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

Puerto Rico attracts 2.5 million tourists every year. While Puerto Rico is known for its balmy weather, diverse eco-systems, and a rich cultural history, it has another unique characteristic: it also uses the most electricity per person of anywhere in the world. Greenhouse gas emissions in Puerto Rico are 230% more than the world average and water consumption is 1,089,000,00 gallons per year. Tourism operations in Puerto Rico contribute to high electricity and water consumption and waste generation patterns.

While there are more than 450 “green” certifications for hotels, all programs are strictly voluntary. So, how do you develop a truly sustainable facility in the midst of an economic crisis to attract green tourists? In this conference, several hotel owners shared best practices. I found one of the inns located in the southeastern part of the Island to have many noteworthy green features. The inn has a recycling program, solar water heater for the pool and rooms, composting area and water recycling just to name a few of the efforts. Guests are invited to bring their own beach towels since the hotel provides none in an effort to save water. The inn has received the highest green award by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company for the past two years in a row. Larger hotels like the Caribe Hilton, where the two day seminar was held, have also incorporated energy and water conservation efforts into their daily operations. Furthermore, they have gradually been incorporating more energy efficient appliances and air conditioning systems. These changes have yielded savings to the landmark San Juan hotel and contributed to a reduction of the hotel’s carbon footprint.

There are many shades of green travel. As tourists make greener demands of the hospitality industry, hoteliers will learn to reinvent themselves in order to comply.

About the author: Brenda Reyes Tomassini joined EPA in 2002. She is a public affairs specialist in the San Juan, Puerto Rico office and also handles community relations for the Caribbean Environmental Protection Division.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Let’s Air Condition the Outside, Why Don’t We?

grundahlIt’s that time of the year again when the weather gets hot and I get very frustrated as I walk the streets here in center city Philadelphia. Many stores have their doors wide open, air conditioning the outside, wasting energy. Last summer I thought to myself, maybe they just don’t understand how what they are doing wastes resources, produces air pollution and exacerbates global warming. So, I tried one-on-one education, first talking to the greeters, then talking to managers. They were nice but they blew me off.

I didn’t “get it” until one of the managers said, “When we open our doors we get more foot traffic and our sales go up.  We know because we track daily sales and experimented.“ It was an “Ah-hah!” moment. Keeping the doors open means more money. Even if the managers understood the environmental impact of what they were doing, their sales revenue was more important. The managers weren’t getting evaluated on how much energy they used, but by how many sales they made. Particularly in this recession when every sale counts, what right do any of us have to ask a business to keep its doors closed and sell less?

But now there’s the oil catastrophe in the Gulf. With scenes of the destruction constantly before us, I expect everyone to understand now, even if they didn’t before, about the many connections there are between how we live our lives and the health of the environment. So will other people now also be bothered by the open doors? Or, am I being too idealistic? And, what should retailers do?

Retailers who want to learn more about “going green” can visit EPA’s Retail Industry Portal.

About the Author: Nancy Grundahl has worked for the Philadelphia office of EPA since the mid-80’s. She currently manages the web for the Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division. Before getting involved with the web, she worked as an environmental scientist. Nancy believes in looking at environmental problems in a holistic, multi-media way and is a strong advocate of preventing pollution instead of dealing with it after it has been created.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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On The Green Road: Post-Hawaii Musings

About the author: As Jeffrey Levy of EPA’s blog team enjoyed a recent vacation, he sent along environmentally relevant thoughts and pictures.

We’ve been back home now for a few weeks. Hawaii was a pretty incredible way to spend our 15th anniversary. Aside from a sense of wonder, a couple of things struck me while I was there that have stayed with me.

First, it amazed me how little air conditioning is used in Hawaii. Between the trade winds and the magically low humidity (I mean, it’s a tropical island!), it was remarkably comfortable even in the upper 80s. And I get hot here in DC when it breaks 75. What’s funny is that when I’ve brought it up to friends who have also visited, they say they were also surprised.

The Honolulu airport was mostly open to the outside. Actually, some gates have air-conditioned spaces, but not the main terminal. I wonder how they decide where to put it? And then there’s the Kona airport, which really goes without AC:

small thatch-roofed buildings bordering an open-air courtyard


You check in under a series of open-air pavilions. Once you’re though security, there is no concourse. Instead, each gate area has its own pavilion, and you walk across an open-air courtyard to get to your gate.

My first hint that’s how it would be came when making reservations, and every place mentioned ceiling fans but not AC. In fact, the only place with AC was our Waikiki hotel. I wonder if that’s a heat-island effect, or it’s just that there’s little airflow through a high-rise hotel room. Or maybe it’s that tourists expect AC, so hotels there include it.

Hawaiians seem in tune with their environment in a way that I envy. And in this case, they save a lot of energy by relying on their special climate to keep things comfortable. If only we could import it here. When we landed in DC at 10:00 pm, it was only 73 degrees but about 20 times stickier.

coqui frogThe other thing I wanted to mention is the coqui frog. You may remember Lina Younes asking people in Hawaii not to eradicate this Puerto Rican favorite. I’ll leave the debate about whether to eradicate them in the comments on that post.

But Lina commented on my first Hawaii post asking whether I’d heard the little songsters. Did I ever! North of Hilo, we heard a single frog, and I can understand Lina’s fond memories of “co-kee, co-kee” lulling her to sleep.

But south of Hilo in the forest, they were so loud we could hear them through the car windows (yes, we were hot, so we put on the AC). So for Lina, I recorded them: Hawaiian coqui (MP3 sound file, 20 seconds, 550 KB, transcript).

Now I understand why people commented on Lina’s post that the coquis had destroyed their peaceful evenings!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Question of the Week: Why do you keep your home as cool (or not) as you do?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

It’s getting hot! Air conditioning makes our homes much more comfortable during hot weather, but a million air conditioners running at once have environmental impacts. A programmable thermostat helps reduce the impacts by cooling only when you need it.

Why do you keep your home as cool (or not) as you do?

Follow-up: Summary of the comments submitted for this blog entry.

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En español: Cada semana hacemos una pregunta relacionada al medio ambiente. Por favor comparta con nosotros sus pensamientos y comentarios. Siéntase en libertad de responder a comentarios anteriores o plantear nuevas ideas. Preguntas previas.

¡Se están calentando los días! El aire acondicionado hace los hogares más confortable durante el temporada de calor, pero el tener un millón de unidades de aire acondicionado funcionando a la vez tiene impactos ambientales. Un termostato programable ayuda a reducir los impactos al refrescar la temperatura sólo cuando realmente lo necesita.

¿Por qué enfría su casa (o no la enfría) de la manera que lo hace?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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