The Energy Edge

A Little Adventure Can Go a Long Way

Everyone needs a little excursion to relax and recharge now and again. As we head into the warmer months, there are plenty of events to try out—from festivals to farmer’s markets, sometimes just getting out and exploring can be a great experience you’ll never forget.

Whether you want to spice up an annual family vacation or you’re looking to try something new, we’ve put together a few ideas to keep the energy up.

Camping in the Great Outdoors

There’s a lot to be said for getting out and sleeping under the stars. It’s a great opportunity to take a break from a fast-paced lifestyle, roast some marshmallows around a fire, and enjoy the fresh air and wildlife.

To add some memorable moments to your next camping trip, consider taking a day hike to a nearby waterfall, kayaking down a nearby stream or river, or bringing a telescope for nighttime star gazing.

Farm Living is the Life for Me

If you’re looking for an escape from the urban life and want something a little more rustic and unique, try visiting a family farm. There are a number of farms that invite families to stay in a bed and breakfast style home, but also allow you to see the real workings of a farm.

You’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with the animals and understand what goes into caring for them. In addition, there are plenty of activities you can do along the way such as horseback riding and hiking.

Geocaching Mate’y

Looking for a real life treasure hunting experience? Geocaching is one of the most adventurous activities you can do, and because of the widespread network and enthusiasm you probably don’t have to go too far. If you’re unfamiliar with the activity, participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates to find a hidden container.

Once you find the treasure, you can log your findings and leave an item or note of your own for the next person to find. To help you on your quest, there are a number of websites and even phone apps you can download right on your phone to pinpoint local geocaches in your area.

Take in the Ocean Air

If you’re looking to make your summer beach trip a little more personal, try staying in a beachside rental home or condo. With a full kitchen at your disposal, you can have family meal nights beachside, while still having the flexibility to go out for dinner at a local restaurant.

For an extra perk along the way, you can rent a small boat to go out on the open water for fishing, sign up for a para-sailing excursion, or try your hand at surfing. Whatever you decide, be sure to let your stress melt away under the sun.

Spring is All Sweetness and (Efficient) Light

Spring is here, there’s a nice cool breeze in the air, birds are chirping and the sun is shining—which means you can turn off a few lights to let the natural light in!

It’s a simple thing to flip a light switch on, but turning one off can go a long way in energy savings. Of course there are times when you need the lights on, so we’ve put together a few ideas for energy efficient lighting.

You have many choices in energy efficient light bulbs, with one of the more popular options being CFLs. While CFLs are traditionally more expensive than incandescent bulbs, the energy savings and life of the bulb will pay off in the long run. In fact, CFLs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs!

If you have outdoor lights on your home or along a walkway, consider using LED bulbs—they use even less energy than CFLs and can last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Since outdoor lights are typically left on for long periods of time, consider installing timers and motion sensors to ensure lights are on only when needed.

In addition to standard sizes, LEDs also come in a variety of sizes for desk lamps, under-cabinet lighting, and holiday lights. You can also find solar powered outdoor lighting for garden or path lights.

A Few Helpful Lighting Tips

  • Replacing an incandescent bulb with a CFL will pay for itself in 9 months in energy savings
  • Easily compare the life, brightness, color, and energy cost on light bulbs by reviewing the Lighting Facts label on light bulb packages
  • Instead of buying bulbs based on watts (energy output), compare your bulbs by looking at the number of lumens (brightness)—a 60 watt bulb is equivalent to 800 lumens
  • Look for retail or utility subsidized programs on energy efficient bulbs; many retailers support programs for consumers to purchase these bulbs at a significant discount

If you do install CFLs light bulbs, be sure to recycle them at the end of their life. Many retailers recycle CFLs for free to help in this effort!

Earth Day 2015 is Behind Us, But We're Still Planting Trees!

Thanks to everyone who liked our Facebook page and helped us plant 4,016 new trees! Even though our Earth Day campaign has ended, you still have a chance to help the environment by planting new trees. All you have to do is take a quick survey and we’ll plant a tree.

Click here to take our survey and plant a tree through the Arbor Day Foundation!

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