Gallery: 6 Smart and Sustainable Ways to Escape the Summer Heat at Home

 
The heat is on as summer approaches, and many of us will be escaping it with the press of a button. Air conditioning is a big reason cities and suburbs can be built they way they way they are, but the cost of running an AC is high and the cost to the environment is even higher. To help beat the heat in a sustainable way, we've rounded up a list of 6 things you can do to stay cool and keep your electric bill low -- all the while giving your electric company an opportunity to reduce their emissions and expensive equipment. From the simple stuff like window shades, to delving a bit further in and tuning-up your house, there are plenty of proven ways to cut the AC out of your summer without sweating.

1. WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES

2. KEEP THE HEAT OUT

3. GET THE AIR MOVING

4. USE COOL NIGHTS TO CREATE COOL DAYS

5. BUTTON UP THE HOUSE

6. TUNE-UP THAT AC

1. WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES

After the Fukushima Nuclear disaster, and resulting energy crisis in Japan, the government asked workers to not wear neckties and and other formal clothing to work. The obvious lesson here is that wearing weather-appropriate clothing makes it a lot easier to keep comfortable inside while dialing back the AC.

2. KEEP THE HEAT OUT

The next step is to keep the heat out of your house to begin with. Covering windows with light colored blinds inside helps, especially on west windows that allow much more heat to permeate later in the afternoon. Another often overlooked heat source comes from electronics inside your house. Turning off the TV and flicking off the light switch goes a long way in keeping the heat down. Shades and awnings on the outside of windows are also incredibly effective ways to cool a home down, as are shade trees and other plants – particularly when they are planted on the west and east side of a home.

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  1. Geranium June 22, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Keep sun off south/west facing patios and walls by installing a shade sail or growing a vine over a pergola. This prevents the heat building up in hard landscaping and walls, which keep the house warm into the night, and also heats the air that comes into the hosue at night when you open the windows. Grow plants like vines to shade your windows, add conservatory blinds inside your windows. Choose windows that open on the side. If they only tilt, then all you get is hot air rising up from the patio.

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