When summer kicks into high gear, soaring temperatures can quickly make us yearn for a cool reprieve! And while cranking up the AC can offer immediate relief on a hot summer day (if you’re lucky to even have it), running it for long periods of time will inevitably increase your energy bills. Luckily, there are few alternative options to keep your home cool without resorting to air conditioning. Below are 4 low-energy ways to buffer your home from the blistering heat.
1. Start planting!
Photo by Thirsty Turf Irrigation on Unsplash
Did you know that high-density foliage is a natural and beautiful way to provide shade outdoors so that you can stay cooler indoors? Put your green thumb to use and prevent sizzling summertime heat from radiating into your home by planting trees and tall shrubs in front of walls or windows that receive direct sunlight. Climbing vines and trellises also help to shield your home from rising temperatures, and can enhance the look of your patio too! Choosing trees known for their summertime shading characteristics—and strategically planting them around your house—is key, especially when facing your glassed windows. As trees planted too close to your home can be fire hazards or may cause foundation issues, ensure you speak with a landscaping expert to find the best year-round solution for your home.
2. Ventilate with ceiling fans and tower fans
Photo by Hutomo Abrianto on Unsplash
If you are energy-conscious, ceiling fans and tower fans are a great option. A simple overhead fan offers instant gratification in a sweltering room, making it feel cooler even when the temperature itself hasn’t changed. While an air conditioning unit can suck up thousands of watts of energy when in use, the average ceiling fan uses only 60 watts—even when running all day. However, there is a trick to keep in mind with ceiling fans. During hot summer months, make sure to adjust the rotation setting so that the fan blades spin counter-clockwise. This will promote greater airflow and keep cool air circulating throughout the room, drawing hot air up from the floor, cooling it and then blowing it back down. You can even position multiple fans throughout the room to create tunnels of cool air.
3. Close your windows, curtains and blinds
Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash
When summer temperatures climb, your first instinct may be to open your windows to get some air circulation going. However, opening your windows on a hot and humid summer day is not recommended: it will just make your home warmer, not cooler.
It’s estimated that around 30% of unwanted heat comes through your windows. As the mercury rises, cleverly using blinds, blackout curtains, light-reflective window screens and other window treatments can reduce the amount of unwanted heat entering your home, thus keeping your house cooler—and your utility bills in check. When properly installed, light-colored window blinds or shades act as a heat blocker and prevent your home from feeling like a steaming greenhouse.
4. Install outdoor awnings
While closing your blinds and curtains can help control sunlight and heat gain, exterior shading systems can be much more effective in keeping your home cool. Why? Because they block sunlight and UV rays before they even hit your walls and penetrate your windows.
Windows typically occupy about 15 to 20 % of the surface area of the walls, so shielding your house with window awnings is a top-of-the-list energy-saving solution to control solar heat from the outside.
Retractable awnings, too, are an affordable and hassle-free way of lowering your home’s air conditioning costs and overall energy consumption throughout the year. Awnings or wall retractable pergolas placed over windows or glass patio doors in the summer can block harmful UV rays and reduce heat transfer into the home by 77% (especially when installed on south or west-facing windows), making them a worthwhile long-term solution. In addition, outdoor awnings are a quick and easy solution and have the added benefits of flexibility, versatility and style, as well as protecting your indoor furniture, rugs and flooring against fading and discoloration.
Instead of spending energy (and money!) to cool down your home, why not keep the heat out in the first place? By making the most suitable choice for your home, you’ll prevent solar heat from penetrating your property during summertime, help keeping your home cooler and reduce your overall energy consumption. Isn’t that great?