I imagine as summer nears that most people begin to groan and think about how their energy use will be substantially increasing due to air conditioning and the like. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a great way to deal with the heat; unlike incandescents, they run very cool. Incandescent light bulbs waste 80-90% of their energy as fiery heat, which increases the load for air conditioners. This is not the case with CFLs.
In addition to compact fluorescent light bulbs you can utilize some of these ideas to reduce your energy use this summer. Energy efficient actions can have nearly as much impact as installing new light bulbs! There are a few hours each day where the sun has not yet fully risen and blasted us with its heat. During these hours, it's a good idea to open windows on each side of your house instead of turning on the air conditioner or central air. This creates cross-ventilation, especially if you place a fan at each window; one fan facing outside to pull hot air out, and one fan facing in to pull cool air in. As the sun comes up, utilize blinds or dark covers on windows to block the brunt of the sun's heat.
Adjusting your schedule is another way to save energy without spending money. Delay heat-producing tasks such as dishwashing, baking, or doing laundry until later hours such as evening time. This way the heat of the day isn't compounding with the heat of the task. Using fans in specific locations to increase airflow in the house is extremely effective at helping you feel cool without having to blast the air conditioning.
The days are getting longer and hotter and while energy usage normally goes up at the same time, it doesn't have to! Use compact fluorescent light bulbs while utilizing these tips and you will save energy and feel cool (literally and figuratively) at the same time.