Besides the most obvious strategy of reducing air conditioning use in the house if you’re outside, there are ways to save energy outdoors, starting with outdoor lighting. If you have security lighting, there’s a good chance you can save a little energy. Some security lights can be 500 to 1,000 watts—that’s a lot of energy: the equivalent of 40 to 80 indoor LED bulbs. Adding timers, motion sensors and light sensors can reduce your bulb energy use.
Switching to LEDs is another great strategy. Solar lights also can light walkways, a water feature or your deck—without having to buy any electricity at all.
Grilling outdoors is a great way to save energy, since you’re not using your oven. But you may want to consider the fuel you use. Natural gas is usually much less expensive than propane, and more convenient, since there are no tanks to refill. On the downside, installing gas lines to your patio or deck can be expensive if the lines aren’t already there.
Pump it up
Many of us have one or more pumps that service our yard or are on our property. Pumps can supply water for a swimming pool, the lawn and garden, or septic system or well. It’s easy to let maintenance slip, which cuts the pump’s efficiency and shortens its life.
Maintaining pumps involves cleaning the filters or checking oil and belts. If you have multiple pumps and need to hire a professional for assistance, try to do all the maintenance at once to reduce the overall cost. Consider replacing older model pumps with new, more energy efficient ones. While you’re at it, check for leaks in the water lines, which make your pumps work harder and longer.