It’s summer, but your electric baseboard heaters may still be consuming energy and running up your power bill.

Here’s why. First, in spite of our best intentions, thermostats are sometimes not turned down. We forget, especially in rooms we don’t often use, or they get turned up on a cool day and aren’t set back down later.

Secondly, thermostats often lose their accuracy – so even when you turn them down, they may still click the heat on during cooler periods. For example, a thermostat that’s off by 5 degrees may kick in when it’s 15 degrees, even if you have it set down to 10 degrees. That’s heat you don’t need and money you can save.

There’s a simple way to be sure your heat is not coming on behind your back this summer: go to your power panel and turn off the breaker for your heaters. Then just reset it in the fall when you want the heat. Simple savings!

In the news

Green power is taking root in China with massive investments in wind (6 huge projects are under construction, each with the output of 16 coal fired power plants). Britain has the potential to be a world leader in offshore wind and wave power in just over a decade. (It’s amazing how much change is possible in just ten years:

In the meantime, lamentably, Canada placed dead last in the World Wildlife Fund’s rating of G8 nations, “not even close” to meeting its Kyoto targets.

Air conditioning feels great on a hot day – but it comes with a big environmental price. In vehicles, next to driving, air conditioning is the biggest load on the engine. In homes and buildings, air conditioning can be a big part of the summer power bill. In Ontario and most US states, power consumption is actually higher in the summer than it is in the winter because of air conditioning. Considering most power still comes from fossil fuels, well… you get the picture.

But we can stay comfortable, save money and reduce the impact of air conditioning with a few simple actions:

In vehicles, use open windows at speeds below 60 KM/h (about 35 MPH); use the fan with a window open a crack at faster speeds.

In buildings, set thermostats a few degrees higher (this simple action has a HUGE impact), and only cool places where there are people, when they are there. Encourage people to dress for warm weather. (Duh!!)

You can read more tips here:

In the news

Munich Re, a huge German reinsurance company, is spearheading an effort to develop solar power in the Sahara Desert.

Yikes – a new report covering about 45,000 species of wildlife concludes that that nearly one quarter of the world’s mammals, nearly one third of amphibians and more than 1 in 8 of all bird species are at serious risk.