Yes, cranking up the A/C in the summer is a temptation; but while it feels so good in the short term, those high energy bills won’t feel very good on your finances. Using air conditioning also takes a substantial toll on the environment. If you’d like to reduce the impact of cooling your home on both your bank account and the planet, consider these five energy-saving tips:
1. Shade those windows.
Blocking the sun from blazing into your home’s windows is one of the key ways to keep your home cooler in the summer. Invest in outdoor awnings to create shade, or use indoor shutters with adjustable slats. Insulated windows and Honeycomb Shades can make a significant difference. Drapes should be lined with light-colored fabric that will help reflect away the sun’s glare when they’re closed.
The cool breeze from a fan often feels much better that air from air conditioning, which can sometimes take on a sterile or “recycled” quality. Invest in low-noise ceiling fans, a whole-house fan, or portable room fans to keep the air circulating throughout your home. Fans use far less energy than air conditioners and can often do the trick of cooling your home to a comfortable level.
3. Strategic landscaping.
Outdoor greenery not only looks great in your yard; it can also provide some welcome shade to help cool down your home in the summer. Plant trees and tall shrubs where they will help block the most intense sun from heating up your home. Deciduous trees will shade your home in summer, and then shed their canopy in autumn (when you want the sun to warm your home). Climbing vines on trellises are another excellent “green” way to create a natural sunblock.
4. Smart appliance use.
Appliances like dishwashers and clothes dryers give off lots of heat. During days of extreme temperatures, try not to use these appliances at all. If you must, run them at night when your home is naturally cooler (and you’re in bed anyway). Consider updating old appliances to energy-efficient models, and turn off lights when not in use. If you must use A/C, make use of a programmable thermostat to maximize its efficiency (68 F is usually ideal).
5. Work with the weather.
Find a weather app for your smartphone that allows you to see the hourly temps throughout the day and night. Close up your home during the peak highs and ventilate it with fans in open windows during lower temps (usually right before bedtime). This will allow you to take advantage of the natural cooler air cycles and keep it inside during peak heat.
With a little planning and effort, you can keep your home cool in summer without breaking the bank. Use these five energy-efficient tips to help save the environment and leave more money left over for summer fun.