For many, summer months mean spending plenty of time outdoors on the beach or next to a swimming pool. Then there are those without the luxury of keeping cool in nature, who live in areas that get so hot that going out in midday is out of the question.
Our homes provide us with comfort and shelter from harsh weather, but keeping cool in summer can become expensive as we turn up the air conditioning. Below are some eco-friendly, energy-saving alternatives that will help you stay cool without draining your bank account.
Customize your windows
It’s easy to shut the doors, close the windows and let the AC do the work, but if you understand how the windows of a home can function as a sophisticated system, you’ll be able to more efficiently control the rising level of heat in your home.
- Double-glazed windows can prevent extreme heat from entering your home, and using curtains with a white back will reflect even more sun away from the home.
- Double-hung windows will allow you to open the bottom section of the upwind side and the upper part of the downwind side. This will cause the resulting low pressure to suck air through your home, creating a draft.
- Shutters or external blinds are another way to keep unwanted heat outside, as they’ll provide your home with ventilation and shading at the same time.
Use ceiling fans
Ventilating your rooms doesn’t only keep the air fresh. Moving air will also cause moisture from your skin to evaporate, which will help keep you cooler, too. Installing ceiling fans will do the trick in an eco-friendly way, as they use less electricity than air conditioning, sparing you the high bills of an AC unit. It’s important to keep in mind that ceiling fans function by keeping you cool instead of cooling the room itself. Therefore, they should be turned off when no one’s in the room.
Employ passive cooling techniques
We all know that white reflects and black absorbs, so an easy way to ensure that your house absorbs less sun is to paint the roof white or another light shade. Cool roofs help counteract the effects of climate change by reflecting the sun’s rays away from your home. This means you won’t need to cool the inside of your home as much as you would otherwise, which means less electricity use.
Add these important installations
- Insulation is useful in the summertime, as well as in the winter. It’ll prevent the loss of cold air or heat, saving you money since less heating and cooling will be needed.
- LED lights are eco-friendly in comparison with traditional lightbulbs, as they don’t get warm. Therefore, they won’t contribute to raising the level of heat in your home as the old-style lightbulbs do.
- Space filler and patches will close any leaks in the home, keeping the cool air inside and leading to more efficient cooling.
Grow some greens
There’s nothing more eco-friendly than planting a tree! If you’re starting off small in the planting process, it might take a long time for you to reap the benefits that trees have to offer around your home, but more trees will help our Earth for generations to come.
Having big trees around your home will create loads of shade in the summer, and even smaller plants will create a cooling effect, as the breeze moving through them will pick up humidity and cool the surrounding area. Growing vines on your wall(s) is another way to create this environmental transpiration effect, and these can also act as insulation.
Keep it simple
In the summer, be sure to choose your cooking times appropriately. By choosing to eat more fresh food during the day and do your cooking in the evenings, you’ll create less heat in your home when the sun is at its strongest. Cooking outside is another way to go.
When it comes to laundry, during the summer, nature is quick to dry your washing. Therefore, there’s no need to use the dryer. Just thinking logically about how you’re using heat-generating appliances such as this will enable you to avoid unnecessary heat accumulation in your home.
Summertime is time for fun in the sun, but it can become uncomfortably hot when you stay indoors. However, if you keep these six eco-friendly, energy-saving cooling tips outlined above in mind, you’ll be able to stay cool at a much lower cost!
Read more about using insulation to save energy by checking out Energy Loss in Homes and the Benefits of Insulation [infographic] >>
[box]Matt is a home improvement writer working for The Cool Roofing Company in Atlanta, GA. He supports the sustainable living movement: green roofs and solar energy use.[/box]