Summer is my favorite season. And this year, if you ask me, it couldn’t have come soon enough. Certainly, I love summer because of the long lazy days, concerts, festivals, sporting events and more: the veritable wealth of entertainments upon which I gorge myself. (Such is the price of living in a northern climate. Few artists want to chance having their tour interrupted by snowstorms and terrible travel.) Yet, the reason for summer attaining most-favored-season status in my book is much simpler: it is because it is warm -- even hot. And, it’s free! Heat, heat, glorious heat, let my bones soak it up.

The thing is, I keep my home unusually cold during the other seasons. And when I say cold, I mean that it is not unusual to see me in a winter hat, gloves or scarf inside my home. It all started perhaps 10 years ago when I challenged myself to reduce my winter home heating bills by 10 percent. It seemed a simple enough task. After all, how hard is it to put on a sweater?

Of course, now it’s a decade later, and I’m still making my annual 10 percent challenge. And, I’ve realized that if I want to continue beating my goals without feeling like I’m cryogenically stored, I must expand the 10 percent challenge. So, I’m challenging you. What can you do to reduce your facility’s energy consumption, by 1 percent, by 5 percent, or even by 10 percent?

Now, if you want to take the less challenging route, you can just wait until you shut down your supplemental or seasonal cooling systems. Cut the power demands of pumping and refrigeration and you will save energy.

If you want to go a step further, here are some technologies to explore on fan speed controls, energy recovery systems, variable-frequency drives, valve systems and computerized control systems. And of course, look within the pages of this issue for great tricks and tips.

P.S. You may be wondering why I don’t challenge myself in the summer to reduce my home cooling bills. Whether it’s because of how cold I keep it in the winter, its construction methods and insulation, or a heat-sucking version of the Bermuda Triangle above my house, my house stays cool all summer without running air-conditioning.

Linda Becker, Associate Publisher and Editor,