Ten Ways to Keep Cool While Being Green This Summer

They don’t call this “HOTlanta” for nothing! Between searing temperatures and high humidity during the summer months, power bills from Auburn all the way down to Snellville can rise through the roof as residents crank their air conditioners as low as they can go. But because rising power consumption is far from eco-friendly, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful has compiled a handful of planet-preserving alternatives in this list of Ten Ways to Keep Cool While Being Green This Summer…

  1. Incorporate a Smart Thermostat in your Home:  According to EnergyStar.Gov, nearly half of the annual energy bill for most American households goes to heating and cooling the home. Designed for optimal performance, a smart thermostat may be a great way to combat that. These Wi-Fi enabled devices automatically adjust heating and cooling temperature settings, establishing a schedule that automatically adjusts to energy-saving temperatures when you are asleep or away from home. They also can help you track and manage energy consumption, and can be conveniently controlled remotely through a smartphone.
  2. Close those Blinds and Curtains, Particularly East- and West-Facing Windows: While we all love to let the natural sunlight in, smart management of window coverings can reduce heat gain by up to 77%, according to the Department of Energy. Blinds, shades and curtains (particularly medium-colored draperies with white plastic backings – which can reduce heat gain by 33%) should remain closed during the hottest parts of the day. For added coverage, consider adding an awning to windows that face south or west to reduce solar heat gain.
  3. Check Your Insulation: Although most of us consider insulation most important for the cold winter months, proper insulation serves several very important functions during the summer months, as well. When properly sealed and insulated, homes experience better humidity control, a barrier to dust and pollen from entering the home, and fewer air leaks leading to unnecessary loss of air-conditioned air. According to EnergyStar.gov, many homes in the U.S. have enough holes and gaps leading to a loss of air that would be the equivalent of leaving a window open every day.
  4. Incorporate Indoor Plants in Your Décor: In addition to enhancing the aesthetic beauty   and quality of air in your home, some indoor plants can actually help cool a room by lowering ambient temperatures and controlling humidity. DailyHealthPost.com suggests incorporating some or all of the following plants to help cool your home: Aloe Vera, Areca Palm Tree, Fern, Ficus Tree, Golden Pothos and/or Snake Plant.
  5. Run Appliances During Cooler Hours: According to Freshome.com, appliances are one of the leading causes of heat gain in the home. Instead of running things like your washer and dryer, dishwasher and oven during the heat of the day, consider running your appliances during the cooler hours – or not at all, if possible. Consider summertime alternatives such as washing dishes by hand or grilling outside rather than firing up the stove.
  6. Take Cool to Lukewarm Showers, Then Air-Dry: If you’re really looking to beat the heat, switch up your shower time routine by giving your water heater a rest. Turn the dial anywhere from cool to lukewarm, and when you’re done – consider air-drying over wrapping up in a towel. Not only will this help keep you cool in the moment, but it will save you from having to wash and dry your regular volume of towels – conserving additional energy and appliance usage.
  7. Visit Splash Pads that Feature Recycled Water: While a cold shower may not appeal to your toddler, a visit to a local splash certainly should. Big Splash at Town Center Park in Suwanee is not only Gwinnett’s largest interactive fountain, it spouts up 1,400 gallons of recycled water a minute to the delight of splash-seekers. Additional note-worthy splash pads and fountains around Gwinnett include Lillian Webb Splash Pad in Norcross, Splash Park at Sugar Hill, Buford Community Center Fountains and Mall of Georgia Fountain in Buford, and Town Green Fountain at Duluth Main Street.
  8. Freeze Your Sheets and Pillowcases: If you’re truly dedicated to keeping your air conditioning at the minimal level required for comfort, you might want to reward yourself with a cool night’s sleep. Place your pillowcases and sheets in a Ziploc baggie in the freezer, then break them out just before bedtime.
  9. Place a Bowl of Ice in Front of a Box Fan: For a truly old-school method of keeping cool, place a bowl of ice in front of a box fan and point it directly at yourself – whether sitting on the couch or heading off to bed after a long, hot day. A box fan requires far less energy consumption than an air conditioning unit.
  10. Plant Shade Trees for the Future: While you won’t be able to reap the benefits this summer, if you begin planting shade trees during optimal planting season – you may be able to reap the rewards next summer or the summer after. According to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, some of the best suggestions for Georgia’s climate include Bald Cypress, Chinese Dogwood, Gingko, River Birch, and a Variety of Oaks, among others.

 

Sources: https://www.energystar.gov/products/heating_cooling/smart_thermostats

http://www.consumerreports.org/energy-efficiency/beat-the-heat-with-window-coverings/

https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_sealing

https://dailyhealthpost.com/good-indoor-plants/

http://freshome.com/2007/06/25/tricks-keep-your-house-cool-this-summer/

http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C1013

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