As you get ready to travel—even if it's a short trip - don't forget to take these few easy steps at home before you leave:
Turn up your thermostat to 85 degrees (unless you're leaving pets at home, of course). Experts agree that the energy saved from turning your thermostat up in the summer while you're away is greater than the energy used to cool your house back down after you return.
Close window blinds and shades to block out the sun's heat. It's amazing how much indoor heat simply comes from the heat of the sun though the windows. Most ENERGY STAR qualified windows reduce the "heat gain" into your home more than typical windows do, without reducing the visible light. You get the light you need without the uncomfortable heat.
Avoid wasting energy on unused electronics while you're away by unplugging them—including hand-held electronics that might be charging, such as phones, MP3 players, chargers, and even laptops.
Aside from those one or two lights that you may want to leave on for safety, make sure everything else is turned off—all lights, ceiling fans, the alarm on your radio, and other small appliances.
And perhaps the best thing you can do to save energy this summer is to choose hotels that have earned EPA's ENERGY STAR label. These hotels listed use at least 35 percent less energy and emit at least 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than other hotels—making a stay with them a carbon-saving experience.
For more tips on bringing your green on the road, visit the EPA's website.
Written by A.B. May