(Welcome again to Elka, one of the finalists in our Editor search for the upcoming Apartment Therapy Green blog. She's writing from Oakland, California. Comment away!)
When hot and bothered homeowners flip on the air conditioning during the summer, they often create peak power loads, which can cause blackouts that knock out power to millions of homes. To avoid that collective situation this summer, try to only turn on the AC when absolutely necessary. I'm a lo-fi kind of gal, and that's why I'm a big fan of, well, fans. I especially love the look of the Casablanca Zephair fan, which could blend seamlessly into a scene with Bogie and Bacall.
Since the elderly are particularly vulnerable to excessive heat, we recently encouraged my grandmother to install an Energy Star-certified air conditioning unit at her farmhouse in Wisconsin. We did some research, and realized that she could keep her energy bills lower in the summers by using an electric fan to supplement the AC. With the use of fans, my grandma can raise the thermostat up 9 degrees Fahrenheit and still achieve the same temperature she would from AC alone—while saving up to 30% of her energy consumption. Oh, the wonders of the humble fan.