Summer can quickly become an expensive season, but being mindful of energy conservation can help reduce your electricity bills—and your carbon footprint.

Take a look at the following suggestions to increase your energy conservation efforts and beat the heat without breaking the bank.

  • Cook dinner outside. Save electricity by using a charcoal or gas grill to cook your favorite summertime meals.
  • Open the windows. Instead of cranking the air conditioning on summer evenings, opt for fresh air instead. Invest in an inexpensive electric fan to circulate the air.
  • Light candles. Since longer summer days afford more daylight, reconsider turning on the lights and use candles instead or as a supplement. Be sure not to leave burning candles unattended, especially around pets and children.
  • Modify the AC when you’re not home. Adjusting the thermostat—even by a few degrees—when you’re not home can conserve a significant amount of electricity.
  • Turn off the electronics. Power down the television and computer to spend time with friends and family outdoors. Splash around in your community pool or have a potluck barbecue in your backyard.
  • Take a walk. If possible, choose to walk to nearby stores and restaurants instead of driving. Early mornings and evenings are prime times for a stroll, especially in areas with hot climates.
  • Take a cool shower or bath. For a refreshing alternative to a hot shower, reduce your hot water heater usage by bathing in cooler water a few times a week.
  • Limit water consumption. Water the lawn every other day at off-peak times, use environmentally-friendly, disposable plate ware and utensils instead of running the dishwasher and spend a little less time in the shower.