Ten energy-saving tips for your summer vacation

Rachel Wray, 503-689-0294
Cliff Voliva, 503-378-3637


If you’re planning a summer vacation, chances are you are trying to fit it into a budget. But while you’re looking for the best deals on motels, restaurants and perhaps airplane fares, don’t forget how to save money on what you already own.

Here are the top 10 ways to save money while on summer vacation:

  1. If you’re taking the family car on vacation, be sure it is tuned up and the tires are properly inflated. If your car does not have fuel injection, a clean air filter will also improve fuel economy.
  2. If you have the option, consider taking buses and trains to travel, which use less fuel and have fewer emissions than flying or driving.
  3. When you arrive at your vacation destination, check with your hotel or local tourism office to find out the bike, bus, and walking routes so you don’t have to use money on a rental car or gas.
  4. Bring a reusable water bottle and coffee cup to avoid having to buy disposable items.
  5. Unless you leave pets in the home, turn off your cooling system or set it to a higher temperature – up to 85° F.
  6. Either turn off your home’s water heater, turn it down to 80-90° F or put it in vacation mode. a. Consult your water heater owner's manual for instructions on how to operate the thermostat. b. You can find a thermostat dial for a gas storage water heater near the bottom of the tank on the gas valve. Electric water heaters, on the other hand, may have thermostats positioned behind screw-on plates or panels. c. As a safety precaution, shut off the electricity to the water heater before removing/opening the panels.
  7. Unplug as many electrical items as you can. Most of them – especially TV cable boxes – continue to use power even when they are not in use. This includes computers, modems and routers, printers, coffee pots, microwaves, toasters, plug-in chargers, TVs, surround sounds, DVD players, and game consoles. A simple way to do this is to plug these items into a power strip that can turn off multiple devices at once.
  8. Make sure all lights are turned off. For lights on a security timer, use CFLs or LEDs, which use much less energy.
  9. Keep your window shades or drapes drawn to keep the house cool in the afternoon sun.
  10. If you set up a water timer, make sure it is watering in late evening to avoid evaporation and get the most value from your water use.

About the Oregon Department of Energy: The Oregon Department of Energy helps Oregonians improve the energy efficiency of their homes, provides policy expertise to prepare for Oregon’s future energy needs, staffs the Energy Facility Siting Council, provides technical and financial assistance to encourage investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy resources, promotes the cleanup of the Hanford nuclear site, and ensures state preparedness to respond to emergencies at energy facilities.