As the days are getting hotter, you may find yourself reaching for the air conditioning more and more. But did you know that while air conditioning may cool your house, it’s warming the planet? Electricity is produced from fossil fuels, and air conditioning units use a lot of it. This contributes to climate change and is actually making our world hotter! Even air-conditioning units run by solar or wind energy aren’t much better: they push the hot air out of a room and into the local atmosphere, creating ‘heat bubbles’ over your city. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stay cool without turning on your AC unit! Read our top 10 eco-friendly ways to stay cool this summer below.
1) Switch up your wardrobe
One of the smartest ways to stay cool in the summer is to change your clothing. Ditch your spandex and polyester clothes in favor of lightweight, natural fabrics like cotton or linen. Tight clothing traps warm air against your skin and stops air from drying your sweat. Wear clothing that won’t stick to your body like loose t-shirts, moisture-wicking shirts, dresses or skirts to not overheat.
2) Stay hydrated
Sweating is your body’s natural cooling system, but you need to drink water to be able to sweat! Be sure to stay hydrated in order to perspire and lower your body’s core temperature. Drinking water is the best way to hydrate, but not the only. Snacking on seasonal, water-rich foods like strawberries, cucumbers, and watermelon can also help you hydrate.
3) Update your home’s insulation
Just as poor insulation in the winter can cause your home to be too cold, poor insulation in the summer can cause your home to be too hot! Be sure to inspect your home for any cracks or openings to prevent warm air from leaking in. Openings can be sealed easily with caulk, weatherstripping, or draught excluders.
4) Cover it up!
Just by covering your windows during the day, you can reduce the heat in your home up to 77%! Sunlight coming in from southern and west-facing windows can contribute to house heating significantly. Stop the light with medium-colored curtains or shades to prevent warming and reduce heat gains by up to 33%. Blinds are another good option for preventing heat gain which, unlike shades, can be adjusted for glare throughout the day. Don’t want to cover up the view? Consider installing window films. Window films can help block solar heat gain, protect against glare and prevent ultraviolet exposure.
5) Use your fans wisely
Ever feel like your ceiling fan isn’t doing anything? It’s possible that it isn’t! To create a cooling effect, fans need to rotate counter-clockwise to move the hot air up and out. Make sure that your ceiling fan is moving in the right direction the next time you turn it on. Another fan tip — think about positioning box fans in your windows to blow out hot air at night. If that’s not cold enough for you, a well-positioned bowl of ice in front of a fan is all you need to have your own makeshift mist machine.
6) DIY cooling
Staying cool in the summer doesn’t have to be complicated. Take short lukewarm or cold showers to refresh yourself and to prevent the heat and humidity from steam from entering your living space. If you have a bathtub, consider keeping it filled with cold water to take a quick dip throughout the day and cool down. Feeling too hot at night? Prepare a makeshift ice pack by freezing water bottles or wet dish towels and placing them under your neck, back or feet.
7) Plant Power
Your plants can be more than just decorative! Some indoor plants like ferns, ficuses, and golden pothos can actually cool a room through a process called evapotranspiration. By caring for your plants, your plants can refresh the quality of your air, absorb sunlight and control humidity! Creeping plants like vines along the outside of your walls can also help absorb some of your building’s heat and create cooling. You can also plant shade trees (a tree whose purpose is to block sunlight and protect you from heat) outside your home to cut air conditioning use by as much as 50%!
8) Appliance Usage
Appliances may be the culprit for heat gain in your home. Try to avoid running large appliances like washers, dryers, dishwashers and ovens during the heat of the day or at all if possible. Consider washing dishes by hand or grilling outside to keep heat out of the home. You can also hang damp laundry near doors and windows to not only dry your clothes but to cool and moisten entering air as well.
9) Stop, Drop, and Cool
It’s common knowledge that heat rises. To avoid as much heat as possible, try sleeping as close to the ground as possible — whether that means moving to a lower level of your house or simply placing your mattress on the floor. This will help you get under the heat and have a good night’s rest.
10) Turn the lights out
If you’ve tried all of the tips above and your residence is still hot, check your lightbulbs. Incandescent lightbulbs produce a lot of heat, which may be your problem. Try switching to energy-saving bulbs and keep the lights off as much as possible throughout the day to lower the temperature. This will not only help cool your home, but also save you money on energy costs!
By using the 10 tips above, you will stay cool, save money, and protect the environment!