5 Green Ways to Stay Cool this Summer
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Summer is right around the corner, and that means barbecues, swimming, camping, vacations, and memories - it also means our air conditioners will be running nearly full-time, and our wallets might be getting a little lighter with soaring electric bills. Last year the United States spent nearly $11 billion on air conditioning, and with that 100 million tons of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere.
This summer, try these tips to save money and reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Wear natural fabrics
Fabrics like cotton and linen are airy and allow for better circulation, which keeps you cooler, and wick moisture away from your body more efficiently than synthetics.
2. Prepare cooler fare
In the kitchen, focus on foods that are light, crisp, cold, and refreshing, like salads and sandwiches, rather than hot, heavy foods, like roasts or baked foods. Not only will the foods themselves help you cool down, whereas hot foods will increase your body temperature, they’ll also keep your house cooler since you won’t be using the oven, which will heat your house.
3. Use the power of water
Staying well hydrated is vital to staying cool. It’s important during the heat to drink at least a liter of water every day, and more if you’re working or playing in the sun. Additionally, water is a great way to cool down, and can be used any time of day. Try taking a small tub of cool water and cooling your feet off, or keeping a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator and misting yourself throughout the day.
4. Take a trip
Rather than cranking up the AC in your home, consider heading out to a venue that is air conditioned, such as a library or movie theater, to escape the heat. Museums, malls, cafes and other locations make great sanctuaries from hot weather — and you can make memories in the process.
5. Make use of windows
Windows and window shades are often overlooked when considering the temperature of your home, but especially for west-facing windows, which catch the hottest and strongest sun rays in the afternoon, simply closing and covering them with blinds, shades, or rollers can block up to 80% of solar heat.
6. Don’t generate your own heat
Almost all appliances in your home generate heat: dryers, washers, ovens, televisions, computers - you name it, it’s probably adding degrees to the temperature inside your house. To avoid this, run appliances wherever possible in the early morning or at night. Doing so will put less strain on your AC, and will also save you money, since appliances that aren’t running aren’t using electricity. Major offenders here are computers and TVs. If you aren’t using them, turn them off.
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