Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Keeping Your Eco Cool When It's Above 90°


Another heat wave and it's here to linger the entire week. I'm guessing you have AC on in the car, at home, at work... Because let's face it, we're spoiled. We call it 'unbearable' because it is something we're not used to. Yet people in many countries live with this kind of weather and survive just fine without our modern day conveniences. We have the AC off, and yes, it was 97° today. Alright, so it is more of a financial necessity at the moment, but have you thought of the environmental impact of running your AC full blast all day for a week? Or worse, the whole summer? I take walks around the neighborhood with my daughter and it completely boggles my mind when it is a perfectly cool summer day and some neighbors have the AC on, windows shut. Common sense? Anyone?!

So here are a few things you can do to put some green back in your wallet and be kinder to our planet.
  • If you can't turn it off, would you please turn it down? You really don't need your house at 65°F when it is 95°F outside. That will put you one step closer to a heat stroke when your body is subjected to such drastic temperature changes. You will feel perfectly fine with your thermostat at 75°F or even 80°F when it is that hot outside. Hey, it's 87°F on my second floor right now, and we're doing just fine!
  • Try a fan. If you can't install a ceiling fan, just get a good floor standing one. We love our Vornado. We sleep comfortably through the night with it on the low setting the whole night. Just to give you some perspective, operating a window AC for 1 hour will cost about the same as operating a fan on low for 30+ hours. So you would pay about $0.04 for a fan on low for 24 hours. Fans do not cool a room, they just make you feel cooler by removing the hot air surrounding your body.
  • Plants, lot's of plants in ceramic pots. So I am not good with plants, they die in my house. Not because of my house, but because I forget to water them. Always. That's too bad because not only do they clean the air, they keep spaces cooler. Especially if you water them. If you're like me, here's an alternative. Fill some ceramic pots with cool water in various places around the house. As the water evaporates it produces a natural cooling effect which is aided by natural terracotta. If your home is already humid, this may not be a good idea.
  • Healthy smoothies! Cold meals! We've been beating the heat with delicious cold smoothies. Ice cream is great too, but a smoothie of course a much healthier alternative. I just toss in frozen mango, mixed berries, wild blueberries, bananas, organic apple juice, orange juice, and rice milk in a blender. The best breakfast ever! We also try to keep cooking to a minimum. Does that mean take out? No. Fast food? Of course not silly. We make lots and lots of fresh cold salads! I make cold sandwiches with my homemade bread, hummus, cheese, turkey breast, tomatoes, and cucumbers for my husband to take to work. I pack him a smoothie too in a thermal container. If there is something I need to cook I do it after 8 pm when it is cooler outside and I can open all the windows finally. Yes, I actually made cookies last night after the heat subsided and boiled pasta and green beans for today's salad. You can also try hot tea if you have an electric kettle (I would avoid boiling on stove top as it would heat the house more). Hot tea will actually make you feel cooler because it warms your body temperature so the outside does not feel as hot anymore.
  • Water! I don't need to tell you this, but of course you should be drinking lots of water. As you always should, not just when it is hot. But there are other ways to use water in this instance. You can take a quick cold shower for a minute, it will surely cool you down. Try putting on wet clothes when you're in the house and it gets too hot! This is fun to do with toddlers and kids!
  • Open your windows. When the heat subsides take advantage of the cool air and keep your windows open through the night. Just make sure to close them as soon as the temperature outside reaches the indoor temperature, or whenever you wake up in the morning.
Do you have anymore keeping cool tips? Be sure to share them with our readers and with us in the comments!

3 comments:

  1. It's amazing how much a fan and water can help us. We just got the Dyson Air Multiplier and it does keep the rooms pretty cool. I'm not sure how much energy it's using up, tho...

    Steph

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  2. Lol.... Well I live in FLORIDA so its impossible w out AC here..im MASS, yes its managable but here, ohhh noo lol even the fan doesnt do that trick! I tried. lol

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  3. Love the tips! people need to take time and enjoy the summer and life! We love to just keep the windows open with a breeze coming through.
    I actually have my own blog with one of the topics covered being green living. I would love to connect sometimes and share tips and ideas!

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