How to Stay Cool and Save Money in the Summer with AARP DC Director, Louis Davis Jr.

As we head into July and near the end of the Reduce Energy Use DC campaign, we thought it would be essential to highlight another important organization. So today, we will be hearing from AARP’s D.C. Directors Louis David Jr., who provides us with excellent tips on how to stay cool and save money throughout the summer.

“AARP District of Columbia works to make the District a great place for people of all ages to live, work and play. Reduce Energy Use DC brings people together and raises awareness of how our actions can help reduce energy use and fight climate change. AARP DC is excited to be partnering with Reduce Energy Use DC for the second year in a row to help District residents create energy saving habits and save money.” - Louis Davis Jr.



AARP signed the Reduce Energy Use DC pledge. Why do you think that’s important for older District residents?

During the summer months, older adults spend a lot of time indoors— at cooling centers, the home of friends and family, or in their own homes. Having air conditioning in the summer offers relief from heat and humidity and can prevent heat-related illnesses. But it can also be costly, both to the pocketbook and the environment. By signing the Reduce Energy Use pledge and encouraging older adults to do the same, we are spreading the word that you can adopt energy-saving habits and stay cool in the summer at the same time. For example, even if you have air conditioning, keep ceiling fans running during the summer and change the direction of the blades to counterclockwise to make sure air is blowing downward. If you use box or pedestal fans, place a bowl of cold water in front of each one to create a chilly breeze. Keeping ceiling fans running will allow you to raise the thermostat about four degrees (at least in rooms with a ceiling fan), which can lower your energy bill.

What is your number one tip for friends and family trying to reduce their energy use?

In addition to the ceiling fan tip, there are several ways for people to reduce their energy use. Our number one tip for reducing energy usage is to use your major appliances wisely. Making small changes such as using cold water to wash clothes, only running the dishwasher when full, and using a grill or microwave instead of an oven can be highly effective in reducing energy use. And I recently read that a dryer can lose 75 percent of its efficiency if lint clogs its trap. Cleaning it after every use can save up to $288 on the annual cost of using a dryer!

What’s something new that you’ve recently tried to reduce your energy use, or is there something that you’d like to try moving forward?

I always turn off the lights when I leave a room, and many years ago I switched nearly every light bulb in my home to LED lightbulbs, which use less electricity and last 3 – 25 times longer than regular light bulbs. Lighting accounts for about 12 percent of an average residential bill, and I enjoy the savings on my energy bill that this small change provides.