The climate is milder further north, but Enviro Girl still sees her neighbors relying heavily on air conditioning when it’s simply not necessary. In fact, at her house they’ve turned it on for only one day this summer, to break a streak of 90 degree days so they could sleep well. They average 3 air conditioned days a year (though if they lived in Georgia, Enviro Girl thinks that number would be much higher). Whether you suffer through 80 degrees or 100, here are some tips on keeping cool without spending a fortune on your energy bills:
* Lighten up. Go barefoot, wear shorts or skirts, wear short sleeves. Light colors reflect heat, dark colors absorb heat–so go for lightweight fabrics in light colors to stay cooler.
* Use shades or blinds to block direct sunlight during the day. Open them (and your windows if possible) at night to allow the cooler air onto or into your house.
* Maximize natural cooling elements by planting shade trees to protect your house and yard from the sun’s heat.
* Hydrate. Drink cool things–lemonade, iced tea, water.
* Eat cool foods. Salsa, gazpacho, salads and fresh produce will help you feel cool while eliminating any need to turn on a stove or oven.
* Run your appliances like dishwashers and washing machines at night.
* Use ceiling fans to move the air around. The effect is cooler air and combined with an air conditioner, ceiling fans will help you keep your thermostat at a reasonable setting.
* Stay in the shade and slow down during the hottest part of the day. Save your activity for early morning or early evening when it’s cooler.
* Take cold or cool showers.
All of these things cost less money than running an air conditioner at full throttle. They require less energy and increase your comfort during the sultry summer months.