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Iowa's natural resources plates include the state bird and flower, pheasant, eagle, buck and a Brook trout. Support conservation in Iowa by buying a natural resource plate for your vehicle.
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Experience Iowa's natural beauty and all the fun our state parks offer. Make your online reservation for state park cabins, camping sites, shelters and lodges.
Support conservation in Iowa by buying a natural resource plate for your vehicle.
Natural Resource Plates
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As summer warms up, it’s easy to crank up the air conditioning to beat the heat. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy on your wallet. Check out the tips below for keeping your home’s temperature low and your bills even lower.
Program Your Thermostat
Keep your house as cool as you need, but let it heat up while you’re away. Program your thermostat to take a break at times you regularly won’t be home, like while you’re at school, work, or sports practice. Set the thermostat to start cooling approximately 30 minutes before you return and you’ll still get a cool welcome home. While you’re in a room, use ceiling and box fans to circulate air around the room or draw in cool air from a window. Turn them off when you leave because fans cool people by wind chill and evaporation, neither of which cools the air in your home.
Puff Up Your Attic
Insulation is your year-round shield from fluctuations in outdoor temperatures. Check to see if the insulation in your attic is adequate and if not, plump it up with blow-in or panel insulation. Increasing your attic insulation from 3 inches to 12 inches can save up to 10 percent on your air conditioning costs, plus additional savings (20 percent) on your heating bill next winter.
Block Your Doors
Weatherstripping and caulking windows and doors will keep your cool, conditioned air from leaking outside. Look for cracks in caulk, displaced or broken weather strips, gaps by the edges of frames and feel for warm air currents to find areas that need attention, and use the appropriate product for your needs. If the issue is around a window you don’t open, consider applying a window shrink wrap treatment to the area.
We all know that incandescent light bulbs produce heat and use significantly more energy than either fluorescent or LED bulbs, so use the latter two to replace incandescent bulbs as they burn out. Are you worried about the new bulbs being overly bright? Look at the output of lumens when buying bulbs, as this measure indicates brightness. If you want softer light, look for fewer lumens or consider installing a dimmer switch, although this will require different, dimming-compatible bulbs.
Consider Your Shower
It’s not the first thing you think of, but your showerhead can cost you. Especially in Iowa, showerheads accumulate particulate matter carried by water, and this can both reduce the water flow and efficiency of your shower. This ultimately increases your AC bill by wasting heated water or letting the heat from backed-up flow dissipate into your pipes and walls. Use appropriate cleaner or white vinegar to clean your showerhead and faucet periodically, and consider upgrading to high water efficiency models.
Things as simple as cooking can release a surprising amount of heat into your home. In the summer, take advantage of the opportunities to grill and cook over campfires outside, and use a microwave or slow cooker instead of the stove and oven.
While new appliances can be a significant investment, there are rebates available on energy star certified appliances. Upgrading old refrigerators and freezers can save you as much as $100 per year! Be sure to dispose of old appliances responsibly – many retailers will haul them away for little to no cost when you buy a replacement.
For more ideas, check out our Earth Day Every Day and In Your Own Backyard boards on Pinterest.