Save energy, water and money

Conservation tips as we head into the dreaded triple digits

Now that it’s officially summer, we’re heading into that stretch of months where the heat is almost unbearable. That means residents will seek relief by cranking up the air conditioning. Who could blame them? Especially on days when it’s triple digits outside.

Thing is, we’re all reliant on our energy provider, PG&E, and if there’s too much strain on the grid, we’re likely to see “brownouts”—restrictions on power usage. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, according to PG&E, there are numerous ways for residents to reduce energy consumption.

First off, when it comes to cooling your space, set the thermostat to 85 degrees when you’re not home and to between 75 and 78 degrees when you are. Simultaneously running a ceiling fan will make it tolerable (at least to some people) to bump the thermostat about 4 degrees higher—between 79 and 82 degrees—when you are there. Other tips include opening your windows or using a whole-house fan to bring in cooler air during the evenings. Then, once it heats up the next morning, close everything up and draw the blinds to keep that cool air inside.

The public utility also reminds residents to check the filter on heating/air-conditioning units, as dirty ones reduce efficiency. For additional tips, go to

This is also the time of year when landscaping is thirstier. For advice on conservation, we look to Cal Water Service Co. The municipal water provider suggests making sure things actually need water before turning on the spigot. When it comes to grass, if the turf springs back after you step on it, it’s probably OK to skip a day.

When you do water, do so in the early morning or at night. That avoids evaporation. If you want to get really serious about conservation, look into turf replacement and the use of drought-tolerant native species. For more tips, go to

Keep in mind that these efforts will save you money.