Guest Post: Eco-Friendly Ways to Keep Your Home Cool Without AC
The summer heat brings with it days at the beach, barbeques in the backyard, and all kinds of outdoor activities that are far less appealing during the winter months. Unfortunately, it can also turn your house into a giant oven that has you sweating all day and night. For most people this means it’s time to crank up the air conditioning, despite the fact that the massive energy drain is bad for the environment (and the utility bill). However, there are a surprising number of ways to beat the heat without ever having to turn on the AC. Here are a few options you may want to look into if you’re interested in cutting back on your monthly payments, saving the planet, or both.
The first thing you’ll want to do is start opening the windows at night and closing them during the day; this will fill the house with cool air that should last throughout much of the day. You should also think about shutting curtains and blinds during the day to stop the majority of sunlight from filtering in and heating up the interior air. Of course, this might not be quite enough when temperature skyrocket into three digits. So you may want to consider installing ceiling fans or even purchasing a few free-standing room fans. You needn’t run them all day long like the AC; you can simply turn them on when you need them, saving you at least a little on utilities.
Another great option, although it requires some planning, is to provide a sort of sun screen for your home via landscaping. By planting certain trees around your house you can block most of the sunlight and keep your interior cooler. It works just like a beach umbrella for your home. But you’ll have to think about the type of tree you’re going to plant for a couple of reasons. First, it has to be a variety that has spreading branches so that you needn’t plant it close enough to the house to risk cracking the foundation in order to get the full benefit of shade. Second, you should look into drought-resistant options. If you live in an area with intense sunlight, trees that are not drought-resistant may burn up and die. Plus, you’ll have to give them tons of water throughout the summer months, which works against your desire to conserve. But with the right trees in place you can keep your house several degrees cooler right off the bat, not to mention surrounding you domicile with life-giving oxygen.
You might also want to find out if your insulation is adequate; if not, adding to it could help to reduce your reliance on both air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter. And of course, you can always utilize your basement (if you have one). Setting up sleeping quarters underground is a great way to escape the heat without cranking up the AC. So at the very least you can close windows and window coverings (curtains, roller blinds, etc.) and use your fans. But if you’re really keen to keep the AC off there are plenty of other options to consider.