Summer allows you to expand your entertaining options into to outdoor living spaces. Decks and patios provide your guests with interesting sights and sounds and the chance to reconnect with nature — weather and mosquitoes permitting. Plus, entertaining also gives you the chance to take advantage of some great ways to keep your party energy efficient, which is handy thing if summer cooling costs weigh heavily on your pocketbook. To your party going strong this summer, here’s seven easy tips to cut your costs and get more energy efficiency when you’re entertaining.
1) Cook Outside
Cooking on a stove or range top may be convenient, but it also traps heat inside your home. You can reduce your home’s cooling costs merely by cooking outside—especially when you’re entertaining guests this summer. Plus, your guests will savor those summer flavors that comes from freshly grilled food.
-Prepare foods that cook well in microwaves. Microwaves use less energy than a stove top and give off far less waste heat that adds to your home’s cooling load. Many dishes can be prepared ahead of time and stored in your refrigerator before party time.
—Don’t forget the crock pot. These cook at low heat for a long time and can also keep party foods warm.
Maybe you’re planning to bake a special dessert. A 350°F oven makes it even more expensive to run your air conditioner because the oven adds to the heat load. Bake at night or in the early morning when it’s cooler outside. That way you can turn off the air conditioning, open some windows, and run fans to blow out the extra heat until you’re finished.
3) Cool Drinks
Keep beverage containers in ice chest. If you’re indoors, this prevents continual opening and closing of your fridge. If you’re entertaining outside, keep the cooler outside with you. This will reduce the number of times people go in and out of your home, preserving your conditioned air. Parking the coolers in a shady spot will also keep your containers cooler longer.
4) Stay Outside at Night
Use solar-power LED lights. Solar powered outdoor LED lighting charges on-board batteries during the day to provide light at night. They are safer than citronella oil candles or torches, they are available in many different shapes and colors for lighting walkways, table tops, and hanging from rafters.
5) Pool Party
In short, Turn off the pump. Pool pumps often run much longer than necessary. Circulating your pool’s water keeps the chemicals mixed, so have your guests frolic in the water to aid this process. Of course, your guests will be getting in and out of the pool and their feet will be picking up all sort of debris. While you want all this stuff filtered out of your pool, chances are that your filtration system will work more efficiently once the party is over and the waters are calm. Be sure to skim, vacuum, and check the chemical levels, too.
6) Picnic Time
If you’re hosting a get together at park or on a boat, organize your guest into carpools. That way, you’ll all use less gas, have fewer parking woes, and work out designated drivers to get everyone home safely afterwards.
7) When You’re Forced Inside
Be a fan of fans. A room full of people can generate a lot of heat and moisture, increasing your home’s cooling load.You can lower some of the discomfort your guests might feel by turning up the ceiling fans instead of your air conditioning. While fans don’t thermally cool a room, they make you feel cooler by helping your body evaporate moisture from your body (yes, it’s sweat). Additional fans are also helpful. Also remember to close drapes over windows because sunshine will add more heat into the room.
One more thing — Ditch the Devices. Encourage your guests to set aside their smartphones, tablets, and laptops during party. Not only will your guests save on their battery charge, they will socialize more and enjoy t