The Energy Edge

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Back to school tips and new energy challenges

As the kids trot off to school once again, now is a good time to prepare for the changes coming. Moving from summer activity levels to fall activity levels can throw even the most energy conscious person off balance. Let’s look at a few tips to get this transition to toe the line:

Do Thermostat Therapy

When the kids go back to school, there’s automatically less energy being used in your home. Make sure to capitalize on the savings by re-setting your thermostat to coordinate with your new routines. Also, by setting the target temperature to a few degrees away from last year’s target, you can save yourself upwards of 10% on your annual energy bill.

Routine Round-up

Along with thermostat adjustments, school transition is a great time to reset your life. Establish a new routine that compliments your busier schedule. Corral your gear so everything is within easy reach: sports equipment, band instruments, coats, and book bags should be given a convenient home to live as soon as the season starts to minimize bad habits halfway through the school year.

Choose Your Chore-times

A new routine can also help with going green with your energy. Schedule your energy intense activities for off-peak hours since peak times of energy consumption can add undue stress to the grid. For instance, try doing your laundry mid-morning or in the evening, and run the dishwasher just before going to bed. As an incentive: electricity is cheaper during off-peak times so you might save more than just energy!

Rethink the Refrigerator

Now is a great time to reorganize your refrigerator and stock it with quick-take items. Put these in the door or where it’s easiest to grab to minimize the time the door is open. If you have college students, or frequent fridge visits for small items, invest in a nice ENERGY STAR rated mini fridge. Having that door open and close repeatedly won’t drain nearly the energy as the larger refrigerator.

Batch Build Meals

While we’re in the kitchen, why not get in the routine of a Sunday chopping spree? Take a weekend afternoon to cut celery, carrots, and any other veggies to stock up the next week’s quick-grab snacks. You can also make several freezable meals in one day for a no-fuss dinner on busy nights. By doing this all in one day, you minimize your efforts while reducing the overall energy spent on cooking.

Sources here and here.

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5 Great Last-Minute Summer Fun Ideas

It’s easy to think that with the first hint of fall, summer is just a memory. But what about all those plans you made? Is it too late? We don’t think so. With the energy you have left from this year’s summer, try some of these tips to extend your fun in the sun for a little while longer.

Day trips

Breaking up that grand summer road trip into bite-sized pieces can make a trip go from overwhelmingly hard to perfectly doable in just a weekend. The goal here is to just get out and see something new. Visit a fun local stop just outside your usual circuit, or book a night in a B&B a few hours out from where you live. The change in scenery will make you feel refreshed, but by keeping it short, you minimize the risk of vacation-lag. Load up the car with books on disc or your favorite cruising music, and if the sun allows, put the windows down and drink it all in.

Geo-caching

This activity is great if you have children, and opens up the world as a giant treasure hunt—bringing out the kid in all of us. In fact, with almost 3 Million caches worldwide, there’s likely a hunt already going on right under your nose. Sign up for free at www.geocaching.com and look up caches in your area. But keep in mind, some of those caches can be really hard to find!

If you get really motivated, you can hide a cache of your own. Take a film canister, rock-shaped key hider, or any watertight container and stick a small roll of paper and pencil in it. Find a good hiding spot and then log it on your new geo-cache account to add to the fun!

Make a backyard family-friendly game

With Labor Day approaching, chances are you’ve got cookout on the brain and with cookouts usually come games. The internet is loaded with new, fun ideas, but even the tried-and-true lawn darts, bocce ball, or croquet sets can get your appetite going.

Along the lines of Geo-caching, why not create a treasure hunt around your own yard! Hide a series of progressive clues so that each one found hints to the next clue’s location. To make it more challenging, try pairing off with one person blindfolded and the other with hands tied. It’s a hoot watching the no-hands partner trying to direct their blindfolded teammate to each clue.

Go on a picnic

Sadly, the art of the picnic has been lost to most of us. But you can rekindle this classic al-fresco dining motif in the remaining days of summer and go authentic with a real basket and checkered blanket (waterproof on one side, preferably). Try freezing one of the items, like your pudding cups or baby carrots, to create an edible cool-pack. By the time you’ve set up your site, the frozen elements will be thawed to nice and cool and ready to eat.

Go the extra step in packing efficiency by making your picnic basket bento style. Originally a Japanese method of packing lunchboxes, bento has some really fantastic tricks for keeping cool things cool and dry things dry in small spaces.

Thrift shopping

Even though we are squeezing the last remnants of summer out, fall is soon to be a reality. With this in mind, this is a perfect time to layer up for the fall with inexpensive and sustainable style! Thrift stores are amazing places with enough hidden gems that it might as well be another treasure hunt.

For the best experience thrifting, try visiting multiple thrift stores around your area. You get better selection and more time to enjoy the autumnal sun. Also, be sure to try on items—and to look over the entire piece before you buy. Small cuts and bleach spots might not be immediately apparent but still bad enough to make the article unwearable.

Another great thing about thrift stores this time of year is you can start building a base for your Halloween costume. The right jacket or pair of pants can inspire some of the most creative outfits at the party, and all for pennies on the dollar!

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IGS & Your Home Team

Do you have school spirit? We do! That’s why we will be passing out cheer gear like foam fingers at over 40 local sporting events this season. Keep an eye out for our IGS Energy banner and grab up some goodies to cheer on your favorite team!

IGS Energy will be supporting football and basketball teams in the various communities we serve across Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas. To make sure we get to everyone, we will do one on-site visit per school. And the part to really cheer about? We’ll show our support with an on-field Give Back to the School check presentation at halftime or before the game!

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Love these tips? Stay up-to-date on other energy-efficient tips on the IGS Energy Facebook Page.

Coming Soon

Did you know that IGS now offers solar? Check out the brand new website IGSsolarpower.com after Labor Day.

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  • ENERGY STAR certified light bulbs use 70-90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs
  • It takes the equivalent of 25 large power plants to power all the refrigerators in the U.S. each year
  • The U.S. consumes approximately 19% of the world’s total energy
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