Monday, July 2, 2012

Eco-Friendly Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

Photo source: runrunrun
It was 102 degrees on Saturday here, people.  And the heat index?  109!  What makes it more absurd?  It was still JUNE!  Yuck!

As the temperature readings skyrocket across the nation, there are some great eco-friendly ways to beat the summer heat that you can employ:

  • Switch to CFL bulbs throughout your home. They emit less heat than incadescent bulbs and consume between 70% - 75% less energy.
  • Connect all of your small appliances to one power strip that can be easily switched on and off when not in use.Kill the vampire power!
  • Try not to use your oven. Summer is a great time to use your grill, microwave, or slow cooker to prevent heating your entire home. If you do cook, do it in bulk, only heating the oven once a week.  Then reheat the meals using your microwave.
  • Keep the effects of the sun to a minimum by closing the blinds and shades during peak periods of sunlight.  Buy black out curtains and use them - especially on rooms that have a lot of windows or get a lot of afternoon sunlight.
  • You can also plant trees or bushes in front of maximum light windows to keep out the scorching daytime heat.  You not only save on cooling bills, but you plant a tree!
  • Use ceiling fans to cool you. Even though they don’t actually cool the air, just the circulation of the air in the room makes you more comfortable by helping to cool and evaporate any sweat on your skin.
  • Look into purchasing a programmable thermostat for your home. You can bump it up during the time people are away from the house and lower it just before you get home so that you are not cooling an unoccupied house.
  • Your clothing choice has a huge effect on how hot or cool you feel. Lighter shades and natural fabrics will help you feel a lot cooler. Make sure your clothes fits loosely so your body is able to breathe.
  • As your body is sweating a lot, you need to replenish the lost water. Water keeps you cooler and healthier.
  • Keep a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator, and when the going gets hot, give yourself a good squirt.
  • Skip the drying cycle on the dishwasher. Instead, leave the door open to let the dishes dry. And put off using the dishwasher until evening, when the air is cooler and the electric rates are lower.  Better yet - run it while you sleep for optimum results.
  • Bypass the clothes dryer and use a clothes line.  Even if you don't have a yard, setting one up in a well lit area in your home is much more cost efficient.  If you think this leaves your clothes feeling too stiff, after they are dry use the dryer for 10 minutes to fluff them. 
  • Cold (or cool) showers will cool your body, improve your circulation, and close your pores. Great beauty and health benefits along with not having to heat the water and then cool yourself off after the shower. 
  • Leave your lights off as long as you can during the day.  Use natural lighting as much as possible. 
  • Have your A/C ductwork inspected for leaks.  It will cost you a bit of money to pay for the service call, but if they find a few easy fixes, it will immediately pay for itself.  
  • Install an attic fan. You can purchase solar powered ones that burn none of your electricity but can cool your attic, allowing less heat to settle at the top floor of your home. 
  • Turn off the technology.  I know...this one might be harder on some of us than others.  But not only will you save money on your electric bill, but those laptops, big screen tvs, and gaming systems that so many of us have really put out a LOT of heat. 
  • If you have one available, visit a public park with a kid-friendly water feature.  I know downtown Savannah we have one of our city squares that has a giant splash pad for the kids.  It's a public space so it's free. You might have a fountain in a local park that allows playtime. If not, visit a friend with a pool. 
Can you think of any others that should be on this list? 

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