The heat of summer can be a drag if your house is hot and airless. The kind of environment created by too much heat and not enough air is sluggish and uncomfortable. There are many ways to cool your home, but some are not eco-friendly. Natural and uncomplicated methods however, can provide a fresh atmosphere while not affecting the environment negatively.
- Create shade: You can create shade in your home relatively easily. One method is to keep curtains and blinds shut when possible, especially in rooms not being used. Another is to plant trees and foliage outside your home to provide shade across windows and doors. You may also be able to fit awnings to your homes exterior over windows that face south.
- Paint walls white: White reflects light creating a bright, pleasant environment. It can also have a cooling effect, as it does not absorb heat like dark colors. Paint walls and ceilings in your home white for the summer months and you will create a fresh environment.
- Fans: Fans can be cheap alternatives to air conditioning units and are better for the environment. Overhead fans are best, as they allow maximum airflow to make rooms cool and comfortable.
- Unplug electrical items: Do not leave electrical items switched on or plugged in when you are not using them as they create extra heat. The heat they produce may not seem like much, but combined and spread out over time it can accumulate. Remember to unplug radio alarms, music players, televisions and kitchen appliances. Make it a house rule that they are switched off immediately after use.
- Bare floors: Carpets create warmth. They are cozy, shut out the cold and trap in heat. Therefore, it makes sense to have bare floorboards and a few scatter rugs during the summer rather than fully fitted carpets.
- Use of appliances: Ovens, washing machines, spin dryers, microwaves and various other appliances generate heat when in use. Make it a habit to cook meals and do tasks like washing which involve using them early in the morning or after the sun goes down. If possible, cook meals in advance one evening and put them in the freezer. This way you can reheat them when needed. Better still, on hot days leave cooking until the evening and use a barbecue in the garden instead.
- Close windows: You may think you are cooling your house by opening windows during the day, but all you are really doing is letting heat in unless there is a cool breeze. Keep doors and windows closed in the daytime and ventilate rooms at night when your home can gain the most benefit.
- Bamboo shades: Put bamboo shades on the outside of windows to prevent heat from getting to the glass. This will stop up to 80% of heat from entering your home via this manner.
- High efficiency air conditioner: Buy an extremely efficient and eco friendly air conditioner that. Ten or above is considered to be a good efficiency rating. It is also important to maintain the unit properly and keep ducts clean so it can easily do its job. Switch the conditioner off when you intend to be out of the house for over an hour and keep it shaded.
By using eco-friendly ways of keeping your house cool, you can create and maintain a fresh environment that is pleasant to live in, while also respecting the planet and saving money.