It’s hard to say which is more intolerable, summer’s heat or the high electricity bills associated with it. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, air conditioning accounts for more than eight percent of all electricity produced in the U.S., resulting in billions of dollars in costs for homeowners and close to 200 million tons of planet-polluting carbon dioxide annually. Having the A/C turned to high 24/7 is not the only way to stay cool when the Fahrenheit climbs. There are alternative ways to chill while simultaneously doing the planet, and your pocketbook, a favor.
Up Your Insulation – A home that is well insulated keeps heat out during the summer months. Check for air leaks throughout your living space and pay special attention to the attic to make sure there are no holes or cracks letting hot air in or carbon dioxide out.
Go Light – Color counts, both for your clothes and exterior home choices. Opt for light hues able to reflect rather than absorb light when choosing exterior paint colors, roof products or siding for your house.
Install Attic Vents and a Whole House Fan – Cooling down your attic by installing vents can lower temperature levels throughout the entire house. If you have access to a basement, you can also install an energy-friendly whole-house fan, able to push hot air into the attic where it can dissipate, cooling down the house and everyone in it. A whole-house fan uses air flow generated from windows left open during the coolest times of day. In order to do this effectively, all doors within the home must also be left open when the fan is running.
Close The Shades – Keeping your shades drawn and windows closed during the day will help to keep heat out. Close-growing bushes, shrubbery and trees can also provide cooling shade, comforting breezes and an occasional yummy apple to eat.
Fan Yourself – Rotating and ceiling fans help to waft skin-loving currents around the room and have the added plus of being quieter than most air conditioning units. To get an extra coolness bang for your buck, place a large glass of ice water in front of the fan to help cool the air it sends out.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.