The weather is really heating up this summer in the Pacific Northwest and the temptation to flick the switch on that A/C unit to “on”, if you have one is very strong. Before using the air conditioner, consider this: home cooling accounts for 5 percent of the energy we consume in the U.S. each year. That’s about 140 million tons of CO2 emissions annually! Here are some ways to fight that urge by keeping your house cooler naturally.
1. Keep the shades drawn during the day. When sunlight streams through the windows, it creates a miniature greenhouse effect in your home and warming it throughout the day.
2. Reflect the heat. If you do want to open the windows, consider investing in some reflective window film to help keep the heat outside where you want it to be.
3. Let the cool evening air in. If temperatures are on the chilly side after the sun goes down, crack a few windows open to let a breeze come through and cool the house. Just be sure to close them in the morning before the temperature starts to rise again!
4. Insulate! You want to keep cool air inside, so grab that caulk gun and seal off anywhere that air might be escaping. Also check the bottoms of your doors for draft and fix as necessary.
5. Get rid of incandescent lights. Not only do those they use more energy, they generate a lot more heat than CFL or LED light bulbs.
6. Make sure your ceiling fans are running counter clockwise. Most modern fans will have a little switch on the side to reverse their direction. You want the fan to go clockwise in winter to push warm air down and reverse it in the summer to circulate cool air.