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Saturday, May 23, 2009


Other people's money ... Other people's energy

Back when, a guy I knew was always starting a new business. He rarely used is own money (he didn't have much anyway). But he was a master at using other people's money to pay for his business ideas.

(There was a film with that same phrase as its title, with Danny Devito.)

Reviewing a video by Pacific Gas & Electric, the utility in San Francisco, California, I was reminded of this technique. And I realized you and I could and should consider using other people's energy to stay cool on hot summer days.

Using other people's energy will help you lower your utility bills ... because you'll be using less energy at home. Instead, you will be turning off the lights, locking up the door to your home, and finding someplace else to read, listen to music, watch videos and, ultimately, stay cool.

I can think of three relatively easy ways to do this.

1. Visit a shopping mall, library, or other indoor but public place that has air-conditioning. You don't have to pay to be in some of these places. But if there's a movie you like to see, try going to a movie theater during the afternoon when it's hottest.

On really hot days, visit a designated cooling center.

2. Drop into a coffee shop -- one with the a/c running and if you're lucky, free Internet access. Price of admission -- a cup of coffee.

3. Go to the beach, if you're near a coast, or a lake or stream ... or find a quiet place in a cool shaded wood to hang out until the sun sets and the day begins to cool.

Of course, when outdoors you won't be using any energy at all. But that's the pay off.

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