Keeping Your Cool When it’s HOT, the Green Way

by Guest Contributor


1032896_sun.jpgSummer is upon us and as the temperatures rise, so does our need to stay cool. Is it possible to beat the heat without (gasp) air conditioning? As someone who has been living in an A/C-free house for most of her life, I can tell you that it’s not always easy or pleasant, but I have picked up many techniques along the way to keep myself and my family as cool and comfortable as possible. Going without air conditioning might take a little getting used to and some creativity, but with my tips below, you will soon be on the path to living a cooler, greener summer.

  1. Turn off and unplug appliances when not in use, that means your computer too – but only when you’re done reading 5 Minutes for Going Green for the day. ;) All of those appliances use energy and generate heat.
  2. If you can avoid using your oven to cook and use a toaster oven or microwave or barbecue grill instead, do it.
  3. Keep your windows and doors closed and shades/blinds drawn during the day. This will help keep the heat out.
  4. When it cools off at night, open all of the windows, to let the house cool down. If you have a whole-house attic fan, turn it on at night (with windows open) to bring in the cool night air. Or you can position fans to draw the cold air into your house. In the morning, turn off the fans and seal up the house for the day.
  5. Keep yourself and the kids hydrated and drink lots of water.
  6. Eat cold or cool foods.
  7. Go to the lowest point in the house. Your basement is usually the coolest place to be. Spend the hottest part of the day down there to get some relief from the heat or consider moving your bed to the basement for the summer.
  8. If you live in an area with low humidity, consider using an evaporative cooler (swamp cooler) to cool your house.
  9. Using ceiling fans instead of air conditioning will help keep the air circulating and uses a whole lot less energy than A/C.
  10. If you are staying inside for the day and feel comfortable doing so, shed some (or all) of your clothes. Kids will especially get a kick out of running around in nothing but their skivvies.
  11. If dropping your drawers isn’t for you, try soaking part or all of your shirt in lukewarm water, ringing it out and then putting it back on. Instant relief!
  12. Soak a washcloth in cold water and drape in on the back of your neck to send shivers down your spine.
  13. If you must be outside, stay in the shade as much as possible and remember to stay hydrated.

Lastly, if going without your air conditioner is truly not an option, you can still save energy (and green, of the money variety) by bumping up your thermostat up a few degrees. Try increasing it a degree at a time over several days until you reach 78 degrees or as high as your comfort permits. This will allow some time for you and your family to adjust to the change. Also close cooling vents and doors in rooms you aren’t using. Keep your A/C unit clean and in good running order by replacing filters as needed.

By adopting several of the techniques above, you’ll be doing a good thing for the earth and your utility bill. Now head on over to 5MFGG’s own Crunchy Chicken’s blog and sign up for her Keep Yer Cool challenge.

Original 5 Minutes for Going Green post.

You can read more from Amy Gates at her blog Crunchy Domestic Goddess where she writes about green living, attachment parenting, activism and maternal health. Subscribe to her blog here.

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