7.11.2010

Energy Conservation for Summer and Vacations

As I have written before, Energy Conservation is a topic that I really enjoy and love to educate about. It's close to my mind often, since I love for tasks to be efficient and simplified. In this post, I want to discuss energy conservation tips applicable to the summer months and also to vacations. Though technically the first day of summer here was a couple of weeks ago, it's been in the high 80s and 90s for what feels like several months. Energy conservation is especially important in the summer months because for many folks who need to think about conserving energy, life gets harder in the heat. Harder to breathe and easier to fatigue are typical signs of the summer, and especially among those with cardiac and respiratory diseases and also the well elderly (If you are having these symptoms in summer or anytime, talk to your doctor!). That doesn't mean that life has to take a backseat during the summer months- just that conserving energy should come into play so you can enjoy and participate in all desired occupations.

Here are some tips:
  • --Minimize time in the heat- try to be outdoors in the mornings and evenings, when it's cooler, and stay out of the sun and hottest part of the day when you can
  • --Don't live on grueling pace in vacation spots- So many people take a trip somewhere exciting (such as Disneyworld) and then run themselves to death during the trip. Don't be afraid to take breaks and naps, you'll enjoy whatever trip you're on more if you're not run down. Also make sure to take some seated breaks in the shade during your outdoor adventures.
  • --Take stretch breaks while traveling- Try to avoid driving for overly long stretches. Take a break every hour or 2 to keep yourself fresh and cramp-free.
  • --Rotate driving- in the same vein, try to rotate the driving responsibilities so that no one person is worn out from the stress
  • --Plan small, close trips- shorter trips can be less stress to plan and easier on the family
  • --Go to places that are air conditioned- trips to museums and movie theaters can be easier to tolerate in the heat.
  • --Get your exercise in the morning or evening- summer isn't an excuse to stop exercising, but try to do it in the cooler times of the day
  • --Use a scooter at parks- if you're planning a big trip at an outdoor park, consider using a scooter or transport chair to save energy. Make sure you spend time in the shade as well
  • --Use a backpack (well adjusted) or rolling cooler to transport water and snacks
  • --Plan day trips for times when you have the most energy- run your errands and take your trips at the time of day that you have the most energy. For many people, this is the morning.
  • --Nap after pool time- swimming always seems to wear me out extra, so I just allot time afterwards to take a nap
  • --Consider making smaller meals that are simpler and have less to prepare- saves you energy and prevents any extra heat from accumulating in the house
  • --Know your limits, and how to cool down- recognize what you need to do after activity to cool down. Sometimes, a seated rest break is insufficient, and you may need to drink or coat yourself with water, or lay down in a cool room. Lifehacker ran a piece on using your pulse points to assist in quick cooling.
What are some other tips you have to get the most out of summer while conserving energy?

2 comments:

Marcella said...

Hey Cheryl! I came to check up on your blog, since I've been missing out for a long while now, hah. I definitely appreciate the summertime energy tips - anything that tells me to take a nap, I deem essential! :P Hope you're doing well over there.

nadia said...

Hi Cheryl,
the energy conservation tips you gave for the summer months seem to be very effective, especially if you do have the luxury to "hang-out" by the pool, but unfortunately some have to work on those beautiful sunny days. My husband is a landscaper, and all of his work is done in the outdoor summer months. He frequently complains of fatigue and headaches by the end of his day. I found that most of the tips on energy conservation can be incorporated into his work, for instance minimizing time spent in the sun may require him to work earlier in the morning.