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Federal Energy Program Suggests Keeping Thermostat at 78, Clearly Never Having Experienced a Summer in the South

Federal Energy Program Suggests Keeping Thermostat at 78, Clearly Never Having Experienced a Summer in the South

72 or bust!

There’s more than one reason people hate the federal government. Suggesting optimum thermostat temperature is between 78 and 85 during the worst heat of the summer easily cracks the top 5.

Energy Star, a program managed by the EPA and the Department of Energy, recently issued new guidelines for energy efficiency. The guidelines are absurd, particularly, if like me, you live in Texas where this time of year the mercury registers a cool 101 degrees and it feels like a balmy 110.

From Fox:

According to Energy Star, keeping your central air thermostat set to 78 degrees is optimal for both cooling and energy efficiency, but this recommendation only applies to the times when you are home.

While you are away from the house during the day, you should keep the thermostat set to 85 degrees or higher.

While you sleep, Energy Star recommends keeping the temperature set at 82 degrees or higher.

For those who hate to sweat in summer months, keeping your home temperature set at a minimum of 78 degrees during the day and 82 degrees through the night might sound awful, but the benefits are significant.

For every degree you raise the set temperature of your central air, you’ll save about three percent on your utility bill, according to the Department of Energy.

On top of running air conditioning, Energy Star also recommends opening windows to fill the house with cool air at night and then shutting all windows and blinds in the morning to trap the cool air inside. Additionally, air sealing your home and installing window treatments can help prevent heat gain via your doors and windows during the day.


Earth to Energy Star: THERE IS NO COOL AIR IN THE SOUTH DURING THE SUMMER. Sure, you can open your windows if you want mildew, mosquitos, and roaches in your house. But here in these parts, even at 10 PM, it’s still over 90 degrees.

I’ve lived in New York and spent a significant amount of time up and down the coasts. I am well acquainted with summers that do not require air conditioning or much of it. They are an absolute dream. Literally, for those of us that live down south. Especially me, who is six months pregnant, enduring a grueling Texas August.

We don’t try to lecture Yankees on the best way to handle cold, inclement weather, so maybe leave us and the blessing of air conditioning alone?  Or have some idea what you’re talking about before issuing super official federal guidelines that we probably paid for.


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Eh, I keep it at 78 during the day. It’s so blasted hot out the AC runs regularly, keeping the air moving. But at night – it goes down to 72. No freaking way I could sleep upstairs with it set at 82.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to danoso. | August 20, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    What do all the lists of recommendations for a good night’s sleep state?


OK, I’m for Government going green. No A/C in ANY federal building “to save energy”.
It would shrink government, Big government melting away.

I’m in a semi-arid location where we can use Swamp Coolers, but except for my bedroom (I need it cold to sleep), I don’t even use that. I was in the mid-west and (ugh, Seattle where 70 deg. F feels hot) when I moved out west, I usually just leave a fan on low, or turn it up a bit when it hits 85. That is what 15% or less humidity will do. I once motorcycled through El Centro CA – 1% Humidity and was really, really, thirsty (I didn’t know I could drink a 2L bottle of water that fast…), and was wondering why with my already deep tan my skin appeared red. Well, it was above 100 deg F. (I’ve done worse, 111F in South Dakota where even 10% humidity made it really hot).

Big Hollywood Celebrities and royalty are going to be flying their private jets in to encourage you to save energy by resetting your thermostat.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to tz. | August 20, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    Yeah, we know.

    We also know those Hyper-Hypcrites will have their themrostats set at 55% so they can burn the lovely fireplace in summer!

    MattMusson in reply to tz. | August 21, 2019 at 6:45 am

    I keep all 5 of my homes at 78, along with the boat and the airplane. -Hollywood

I love when Texans whine about the weather. And then blame Yankees.. out of habit. Yeah. Those peculiar old habits.


One way to cull the herd of elderly social security recipients. Nothing like stepping back into the 19th century. We are trying to reintroduce TB into the country… 1 out of 4 deaths in 19th century USA related to TB. Yep… the good old summer days…

Tripoli, Bagdad, and Kabul are north of the Houston latitude….nothing more to say

Morning Sunshine | August 20, 2019 at 8:10 pm

about 7 years ago, I got a letter from my power company telling me that my house was using a bit more than twice the houses of my neighbors, and suggested ways we could cut down – including letting them control my thermostat during “peak hours.”

Five houses on my road with 2-1-2-6-3 inhabitants per house. yes, mine was the 6-person household. That right there would double my energy consumption, yes?
But – 6 of those other inhabitants would leave their houses every day to go to work or school. My kids are homeschooled, so they and I are home all day, those 8-10 hours my neighbors were away commuting to and fro. Surely that right there would increase my energy consumption, yes?
My husband works from home; he is a programmer running 2 routers, 3 computers and 5 monitors on a daily basis. Surely that right there would increase my energy consumption, yes?

The wonder is NOT that we were double our neighbors’ energy consumption. The wonder is that we were ONLY double their consumption.

Uh, Kemberlee? I’m just up the road in San Antonio. I keep the a/c in the apartment set around 85 during the day and 82 at night.

The guvmint should also think about women having hot flashes in the night hours (but that is indelicate to discuss). Setting the thermostat at 82 or higher would be such a good thing! Bless your heart!

Ugh. Sorry, mine’s at 68°.

LOL I live in the humid South, and my thermostat is always set to 78°. It’s quite comfortable. Why? Because I have a dehumidifier going and a couple of fans circulating the air.

78°? Big whoop. Use some common sense and you too can thrive in 100° weather.

Remember how the government moved the retirement age for social security from 55 to 65?

yeah, it’s like that…

54° 40′ or Fight!

Being a cheap person, the first 30 years I never had air conditioning in my Michigan house. You can pretend we get cool weather all you want but we get into high 80’s to 90’s and the humidity will leave you drenched. I slept it. I know it. I’ve changed shirts multiple times through the day.
So I finally had central a/c installed and when it’s remotely near 75 outside I’m no longer giving a s*it about saving 3% for each degree upward. I’ll go to 68 on my a/c if I please. And I’ve done so many times.

Nail on the head Kimberly. The folks that come up with these ideas have NO IDEA. We got down to… 86 last night.. as a LOW in the DFW burbs. Nice, eh? Nevermind the humidity. The folks that come up with this stuff would never live in Texas or Atlanta or Birmingham. Those are places they’ve heard of.

    Francesca in reply to RobM. | August 21, 2019 at 12:50 am

    grew up in Nashville. HOT. HUMID. Still hot at night.
    Now In Colorado 98 today. 65 tonight. Always ~30 lower at night.

goddessoftheclassroom | August 20, 2019 at 9:22 pm

I can thrive in the winter with my thermostat at 63 when I’ hone and 55 when I’m at work and at night (I love my down comforter—and I even open my windows!)
Ah, but summer…my max when being brave is 76, but 74 is much better—and at night my dedicated room AC is on 70. It’s how I choose to budget my money.

(Northern CA, where the friend whom I visit lives, has the perfect weather; the South, where my heart lives, is worth every petty inconvenience; PA, where God has planted me, builds character.)

People, these are nothing more than suggestions. And, they make sense.

Now, think about this for a moment. I live in Florida. Our summer temperatures are between 85 and 110 degrees, depending upon where in the state you live. Now, lets say you chose to live in constant temperatures of 65 to 72 degrees. Fine. Until we have a hurricane and lose power for a few days. Now you are living in 90-110 degree heat with 80-100% humidity. And, you have no electricity and no fans, unless you have a generator. I have seen people in dire physical straits in just such circumstances. People who refuse to acclimate to environmental conditions, are really going to suffer if they lose their artificial environment and have to live in the real world.

Oh, one more thing. Have you seen all of those women who work in offices where the temperature is 68-75 degrees with the mini-heaters under their desks to keep warm? What is that all about?

    94Corvette in reply to Mac45. | August 20, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Mac – I work 10 hour shifts outside here in Houston – I’ve acclimated to it but that doesn’t mean I have given up comfort.

    Firewatch in reply to Mac45. | August 21, 2019 at 8:28 am

    After becoming acclimated to Vietnam during the Asian vacation that LBJ so graciously gave my generation I found Texas to be damned HOT in July! Luckily, I was in southern California for August.

“For every degree you raise the set temperature of your central air, you’ll save about three percent on your utility bill, according to the Department of Energy.”

What a great idea! I just set the thermostat for 150F and expect my first check from the PUD in September. I’ve been wondering how to supplement my fixed retirement income! The EPA and DOE rock!


DouglasJBender | August 20, 2019 at 10:11 pm

I am built for Alaska. For years I worked in construction (as a Carpenter [framing, concrete, a little roofing]), and I could work in extremes of temperature (minus-35 F with wind-chill for one week in Colorado Springs, for example; and up to 95-98 degrees F for a number of summers, often with high humidity (here in northern Indiana). But I haven’t done regular construction work for several years now (mainly I’ve been working in factories lately). It’s become clear to me that I just can’t handle the extremes in weather like I used to, especially the heat and humidity. The heat in the factories I can handle, even when the temperature reaches the mid-90s. But working in the Sun, with no clouds, is a whole different ballgame.

The government recommendations apparently do not take into account the needs of those who might have spent 8-12 hours working in the hot Sun. I don’t imagine those who came up with these suggestions have much of an, if any, idea what it’s like working long hours in the heat, whether outside or even in a factory. They obviously made some very generalizing assumptions about the public, probably based on their own, likely narrow, personal experiences.

Close The Fed | August 20, 2019 at 10:15 pm

Just “Jimmy Carter” level stupid.

Double nickels anyone? I got SOOOOOOO many speeding tickets when the national speed limit was 55. Sooooooo many tickets.

The government is full of busybodies. Someone tell them to get a life!

Thank God Trump loves energy!

Ok thanks for the advice from the federal energy star folks. Today in EL Paso the high was 102, low of 80 with 20% humidity. So I will pass. For the record I spent my childhood thru HS in lower Alabama, then later on was sent to lovely Iraq. Temperature in Iraqi summer is way over 100, but you adjust until it gets over about 112. At that level people start getting ready to fight, the U.S. forces that is not the Iraqis.

On another note while in Germany, we didn’t have AC in government buildings or private off post apartments. Didn’t need it because it rarely got over 85. Until an August heatwave in I think 2003. Lots of elderly people had issues, several thousand deaths throughout Europe, most in France. Apparently the August vacation was too important to interrupt by taking the time to check in on Grandma and grandpa. Lost the last bit of respect I had for Parisian French. Brittany and Normandy are still ok, oversimplified that is France’s red vs blue.

rustyshamrock | August 20, 2019 at 10:28 pm

Perhaps we should set the max settings those northerners can set their furnaces in the winter. I suggest 38 during the day and 30 at night. If anyone gets cold, they can wear a parka to bed.

Kemberlee, head for the local pool when you can, and run your air conditioner. The Energy Star people must all be unfit, low-activity couch potatoes who live in far more temperate climates than Texas.

I remember being pregnant in Houston, particularly in December, when I was wearing short sleeves, and everybody else was shivering. Those idiots at Energy Star have no idea what a pregnant metabolism is like.

And when I was recovering from later pregnancies and working out, I was the one who knew where every air conditioning vent in the health club could be found. People who did not work out hard, particularly the women, would come in and complain about how cold it was, and I would tell the workers to keep that thermostat down.

In the Prog utopia, these wouldn’t recommendations, they would be dictated levels and they would set the temp control remotely. 80’s in summer and 50’s in winter.

Uh, no. Here in Northern New Mexico, air conditioning isn’t a necessity because the humidity is low and the overnight temps drop by about 35 degrees, even in July/August. I use a window unit to cool my bedroom down at night before I go to bed and that’s about it. I do, however, have a house north of Atlanta and I keep the thermostat at 76 when I’m gone and 72 when I’m there. If you don’t, the humidity builds and your furniture will mildew. Even then, I run two dehumidifiers when I visit during the summer months because I can’t (or more accurately, won’t) tolerate high humidity. As for sleeping at 82 degrees? Uh-uh. Not going to happen.

I want to see their recommendations for winter heating temperatures. All the ‘adapt to your environment’ folks will be too frozen to type at their keyboards if they set their thermostats to the temp I’d normally keep mine in texas, for the winter.

Paul In Sweden | August 21, 2019 at 5:31 am

Inflict all of these regulations such as building thermostat recommendations first on congress and then on the rest of the Federal Workers before even considering an off hand recommendation to the citizenry.

If Michelle Obama lunches were served in congress, the depart of education, BOP, DOJ, FEC, IRS, EEOC, SSA, GISS, ATF, FEMA etc, etc a lot of childhood malnutrition could have been prevented.

Similarly, if same sex bathrooms, showers, and lockers were mandated in congress, the depart of education, BOP, DOJ, FEC, IRS, EEOC, SSA, GISS, ATF, FEMA etc much social strife could have been avoided during the Obama administration.

These people watched Curb Your Enthusiasm (Episode 1, Season 7) and didn’t realize it was a comedy.

My home in PA had a super efficient split duct system. You could set the bedroom temperature to 68 and leave the rest of the house at say, 77. I see these systems installed in Europe all over, but here, they are still almost prohibitively expensive, and generally not part of new construction. I don’t understand this… Imagine heating and cooling your home for a fraction of the cost, and a fraction of the environmental impact? Instead our gov wants us to suffer.
No surprises.

theduchessofkitty | August 21, 2019 at 8:59 am

Yeah, go ahead and tell a menopausal Texas woman to keep her room at 78 or 82 while sleeping… That’s peachy…

Besides, the recommendations from the NSF is to have the room at a range from 60-67 degrees at night.

It is probably just a matter of time before the electric utility will remotely set your thermostat. Especially in the hotter parts of California.

Thus creating a huge underground market in devices to fool the thermostat’s temperature sensors. Thus creating ever-more-Draconian laws for tampering with the utility’s control. Thus prompting the development of stealthier devices.

Although “opening windows to fill the house with cool air at night and then shutting all windows and blinds in the morning to trap the cool air inside” actually works pretty well in climates where it actually gets cold at night, at least so long as the outside temp. doesn’t approach the dewpoint. There’s probably a market for “smart home” devices to do this automatically, presumably using air ducts to the outside as not everyone is going to be comfortable keeping ground-floor windows open at night.

Just wait until everyone has “smart thermostats” and the government just adjusts your temperature to approved levels for you.

It’s for your own good don’t you know.

And if you complain about it, Alexa will report you to the thought police.

I hate the EPA and the criminal bureaucrats Obama left behind but I have to say 78 degrees is a quite reasonable temperature while I am home.

I live in the San Gabriel valley in Los Angeles. In the middle of the summer, the temperature can easily reach 95-100 degrees so 78 degrees is fine.

Electricity bills will burn a hole in my wallet if you leave the AC all day long here, so I make it a point not to use the AC when nobody is home, and to turn the AC on only when it’s 82 degrees or higher when I’m home, keeping all windows open when the AC is off.

“Just wait until everyone has “smart thermostats” and the government just adjusts your temperature to approved levels for you.”

The left-wing g00ns who run Los Angeles turn the water off to a large population a few years after they mandated the use of smart meters. No outrage, nobody fired.

78 is fine. Fine, not ideal. What idiot is telling us to keep it at 82 at night? Seriously, my in laws are old school Dems who lived through the Great Depression and keep their air at about a hundred. Maybe the DOE should advance its efforts through promoting cheaper power. Nuclear is the way to go.

I live in the southern piedmont of North Carolina. We’ve kept the A/C set at 78 for the 30 years that we’ve lived in our circa 1960 Brick veneered 1187 Sq. Ft. ranch styled house. It was a “Gold Medallion” all electric home, so it should have 3” of fiberglass bat insulation in the walls and only 7-1/2’ ceilings. The windows (13 of the 14) are still single
Pane Glass (the bathroom window in the shower was replaced with double pane glass 23 years ago) and the old storm windows are a waste of time.

The secret to keeping the A/C set at 78 degrees Fahrenheit is to have good quality ceiling fans in most of the rooms (you want exhaust fans in the kitchen, bath and powder room). You want to have the largest blades possible in each room and change directions (anti-clockwise in the summer) at the time changes. Let the A/C remove the humidity and the fans stir the air to cool you. It helps that we have 2 Mature (60 year old) Pin Oaks in the front yard (faces South-Southwest) but at best, they shade about 3/4s of the front of the house (the kitchen is completely exposed). It’s also a great idea to cook outside on the gas grill when it’s hot and we put a portable fan on the top of the refrigerator to stir the air when you have to cook inside.

LED lights seem to do a much better job of not heating the house than either compact fluorescent, halogen or incandescent lighting.

A final thought: If you work in an air conditioned office all day long, commute back and forth to work in an air conditioned car, and return to an air conditioned house, chances are that you won’t try to do anything outside when you get back there. I try to
Keep the A/C off on the trip home ( if it’s above 95 degrees Fahrenheit

P.S. We’ll see how this works as we get older. As we approach 60, 88 degrees and lots of humidity really take their tolls on older bodies. And despite following the UPS mantra of “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!” Even when you do everything correctly (e.g. No Caffeinated Drinks, no Sodas, lots of fruits, salads and you can never drink enough water), the older we become, the less we’ll we tolerate the heat and especially the humidity. Finally, when you have asthma, throw damn near everything I’ve said out of the window. Breathing cool air becomes mandatory.

So let the EPA set the example of how they should regulate our comfort. 78 A/C and 68 Heat for all 14,172 (2018) EPA employee staff buildings.

This is so dumb. If these same idiots pushed for Gen IV nuclear technology development instead then a worldwide population double what it is now could keep their homes at 70 degrees year round and drive electric cars and we’d have cheap energy capacity to spare which would never run out. But instead, let’s torture everyone with discomfort and fear.

These comments have me practically rolling on the floor. What on earth do you think that people did before somebody invented central AC? Heat is a necessity. AC is a luxury.

ConserveLiberty | August 21, 2019 at 2:07 pm

I just had a new central AC installed yesterday to replace the most efficient model i could get in St. Louis in 1996. For grins I entered my heating and cooling usage in the EnergyStar assessment tool. I scored 1.5 of 10 and they actually recommended these temperature settings to improve my score! Not. Gonna. Happen.

Smart Thermostat
72, 6am – 9am. 78, 9am – 4pm. 72, 4pm – 10pm. 75 sleeping time. Weekends 72 daytime. I have an attic fan and ceiling fans in most rooms. Winter is the flip; I have blankets and sweaters.

I still scored 1.5 of 10. They’re insane.

    I’m currently engaged in a little research project of my own since the power company had to replace my meter a few weeks ago. Thus far, it appears that keeping my AC set at a specific temperature 24 hours a day is slightly cheaper and more energy efficient than adjusting it up and down depending on time of day, which is in line with what the power company itself had told me. I had been setting the temps at 85 degrees during the day and then cooling to 82 in the evening to help with sleeping. It’s apparently more efficient to just leave it at 82-83 all the time, and a lot more comfortable.

I will consider this as soon as it becomes SOP for every federal building in the nation to keep their thermostats set to 85 degrees and are locked so they can’t go beneath that temp. Until then; “Have a happy and KMA!”

    txvet2 in reply to Gremlin1974. | August 21, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Most of them have central climate control, so it’s set wherever the boss wants it – but personally, I used to have constant problems with a stiff neck and back and leg cramps because it was always too cold.

2nd Ammendment Mother | August 21, 2019 at 2:41 pm

I’ll think about it as soon as that is the standard temps for all government offices, military facilities, schools and hospitals.

In the meantime, welcome to my summer: 116 degrees and hot flashes

Considering Obama’s attempted mandate for Smart Meters, I’m thinking “no”.

Is this why they want us all to have smart meters? At some point, will they be the ones selecting our temp settings?

it’s hot in texas–have had many consecutive days above 100 ambient with an index, due to humidity, of 108 or better

we’ve been here at the ranch for 24 years this month–we’ve endured some hot summers along the way but not the suffocating heat of houston and its environs–while certain that some fine people live there, would not venture to harris county for the second coming

regards thermostat settings/water usage, etc. we feel that if we’re paying the damn bills then we’re going to decide where the thermostat is set, how much water we use, etc.

Per Rick Perry via CTH, this report was issued in 2008. I don’t know why the sudden hysteria over it, but at any rate, official policy is that you can set your thermostats any way you want.

If you are using air conditioning at work, at home, and in your car, you haven’t experienced a summer in the south, either.

Live like our grandparents did. Open the windows, consider an electric fan a luxury, and an afternoon rain shower to be a gift. That’s summer in the south.