By: Becky White
Summer is here, and so are the scorching temperatures. Whether you have an air conditioner in your home or not, there are a variety of ways to keep cool without using a high amount of energy or breaking the bank.
#1 Keep your Curtains Closed during the Daytime
Energy use (and bills!) can skyrocket during the summer months as people turn down their thermostats. Keeping your thermostat a couple of degrees higher (for example try 73 degrees, instead of 70), closing your curtains during the day time, and keeping air conditioning units turned up are excellent ways to keep your energy use down. Closed curtains block a lot of the sun’s heat and can save up to 7% on your energy bills. This is especially useful with south or west facing windows.
#2 Keep Your Body Cool!
Turn your temperature focus inwards and keep your body as cool as possible by staying hydrated! Bring a reusable bottle with you to help you stay hydrated on the go while reducing waste caused by disposable water bottles. Many public places and cooling centers have water bottle filling stations that dispense cold filtered water. Insulated bottles even help to keep the water cool.
What’s for lunch? Eating cold foods helps to cool you from the inside out. Cold foods are also perfect to pack for picnics – an excellent summer activity. While you are outside, try wearing a wet bandana around your neck. The evaporating water from the bandana will help to keep you feeling cool on those sweltering sunny afternoons.
#3 No AC? No Problem!
Try placing a bowl of ice in front of a fan and pointing it at you as you cozy up to watch a movie. You may be surprised at how effective this simple trick can be! To keep your energy costs down, find a fan that is an Energy Star rated appliance.
Ready for bed? Try using cotton sheets! Cotton is an excellent fabric to keep you cool when you are hot by absorbing moisture and releasing heat. Buckwheat pillows can also be a great cooling addition to your bedroom. Due to the separate buckwheat husks, these pillows allow heat to pass through instead of trapping heat like conventional pillows.
#4 Go out and About!
Many cities offer designated cooling centers where you can go and enjoy the AC without the bills! Public libraries, shopping malls, and other public activity centers may have summer programs set up for community members to enjoy. Let’s also not forget public pools! These are excellent low cost summer activities that are free or low cost, but also do not require you to install or crank up your AC at home. Visiting these places in the peak of the day when the heat is highest will keep you cool. Ever taken a walk near the water? The air can be up to 10 degrees cooler near bodies of water, so that picnic mentioned earlier might be best near a lake.
These are only a few of the ways that you can keep cool this summer while also being eco-friendly. Take your own interests and activities and see if you can put a green spin on it to keep your energy costs down during the summer time. Paying attention to energy use times in your region is a great place to start!
From all of us at NSI, we hope you enjoy the season!
We all can make a positive difference in our everyday activities and choices! Visit Niagara Sustainability Initiative at http://niagarasustainability.org/ for more information or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for more information on sustainability in the Niagara Region, the Carbon Project and how you can get involved with reducing your impact on the environment.