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78 degrees or higher? Energy Star’s recommended summer thermostat settings spark heated debate

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By: Michelle Ewing, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Energy Star’s recommendations on how cool residents should keep their homes have sparked a heated debate online.

According to Consumer Reports, the program, overseen by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, suggests that cost- and energy-conscious homeowners keep their thermostats set to 78 degrees or higher during the summer. The recommended minimum temperatures are even higher for when you’re out of the house or asleep, at 85 and 82 degrees, respectively.

The DOE website offers similar advice, saying you should “lower the thermostat setting to 78 degrees only when you are at home and need cooling.” 

On Monday, WTSP and other news outlets shared the suggestions on social media, inspiring plenty of hot takes from AC-loving followers.

“Don’t ever invite me over if your a/c is set to 78 degrees,” Twitter user @MrUnpopular wrote in response to one post.

“Tell Energy Star not ta’day satan,” quipped @Michelle_DC_1

Others were unfazed. 

“We have our thermostat set at 78 degrees,” @mrs_ybledsoe tweeted. “We keep the ceiling fans going, as well as 2 stand up fans for back up if necessary. It is VERY comfortable.” 

Another user pointed out that the 78-degree recommendation was far from new.

“The earliest reference I can find to the 78° number is this 2009 EnergyStar recommendation guide,” @ewlamy tweeted, linking to the 10-year-old document.

Read more here or here.

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