Summer is just getting started. But you may already be “in the soup” of sticky, humid days and bracing yourself for unpredictable cooling costs. But don’t worry—energy efficiency has got your back. Read on to learn how small energy-saving upgrades and habit changes can help you save money, be cool, and stay comfortable all summer long.  Set it and forget it. A programmable or smart thermostat can keep your home cool when you need it–and avoid running your air conditioner when you don’t. If you have a consistent schedule, you can automatically set your thermostat to an efficient 78 degrees when you are home, and 83 degrees when you’re at work or away. Your investment will pay off in the winter, too—the right setting can save you up to $180 in annual energy costs.  Feel the breeze. Did you know that when using a fan and air conditioner simultaneously, you can raise your thermostat setting by 4 degrees with no change in comfort? Set the ceiling fan’s blades to spin counter-clockwise to create a cool breeze and remember that fans cool people and not rooms—so use them only in rooms that are occupied!  Throw some shade. Your window curtains and blinds can be your best ally against the summer rays. To help your home stay cool, keep window coverings closed during the day when the sun is at its brightest and hottest. This can be especially beneficial if your windows are older or your home gets a lot of direct sunlight.   Light the way. Still have old incandescent bulbs hanging around your home? They lose approximately 90% of their energy as heat. By replacing just 5 of these bulbs with ENERGY STAR® LED bulbs, you can save up to $100 per year in energy costs – and avoid that extra bulb heat that adds to your cooling costs.  Put it off. Here’s a good excuse to put off some chores. Heat-producing tasks such as laundry, using your dishwasher, and cooking can make your air conditioner work harder. Delay these until the cooler morning or evening hours to help keep energy costs down and your living space comfortable.  Look for the ENERGY STAR. About 6% of the average U.S. household’s energy use goes to space cooling. When buying a new air conditioning unit or other appliances, always look for the ENERGY STAR label, which signifies it’s among the most energy efficient on the market. Choose the smallest unit appropriate for the size of your space to get the most comfort and bang for your buck.  Check with your local utility to see if they offer rebates or other discounts on programmable or smart thermostats, LED lightbulbs, and cooling equipment. Visit for more tips and to join a growing list of individuals celebrating Energy Efficiency Day 2019.