The weather has topped 90 numerous times up here in the Northeast, and we've just barely entered August! The overall ickiness of a hot, hot summer is often unbearable. It's tempting to cope by cranking your AC, but according to the US Department of Energy, air conditioners release roughly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year—an average of about two tons for each home with a unit. Below are some energy-efficient ways to keep your hands off the AC (when possible).
- Draw the blinds or curtains during the day to keep the sun's heat from streaming in.
- Opening windows at night and closing them during the day will trap cool nighttime air.
- Use fans strategically. For example, if there is a cool breeze in the evening, place one fan near an open window facing into the room and set up another facing it on the opposite side of room.
- Skip the oven and try some of these refreshing salads for your summertime dinner. Or keep the heat outside with these grilling recipes.
- Line-dry your clothes. It keeps the dryer from raising your indoor temperature and makes your clothes last longer.
- Turn off the lights. And while you are at it, replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Regular bulbs only convert 10% of the electricity they use to light and the rest is wasted as heat.
- Unplug electronic equipment. All these appliances add unwanted heat to a room.
- Take a cool shower or bath. It sounds obvious, but it works wonders!
Also, check out these other home cooling tips.
Francesca Olivieri is co-founder of sage baby, an online eco-friendly baby store offering everything from organic clothes and skin care to furniture. She also runs a green consulting business; blogs for The Family Groove and Scenic Hudson; and contributes to Daily Candy Kids, YogaCity, Citiscoop, and NRDC’s Simple Steps. Please visit her website at FrancescaOlivieri.com.