Beat the Heat: Keeping Cool at Home

Summer in Cincinnati have you sweltering? Typically, about 42% of an American household’s energy bill is spent on keeping the home at a comfortable temperature. Houses that do not use air-conditioning use about half as much energy that those that do. Here are some eco-friendly ways to keep your home cool this season, while at the same time saving some money.

  • Utilize ceiling fans – they can use as little as a tenth of the electricity to cool a room as an AC unit
  • Seal the house – improve your insulation and draft proofing to ensure cool air isn’t leaking out and hot air isn’t seeping in
  • Let the breeze in – encourage a natural breeze in the evening to let cool air in and warm air out
  • Lighten up – wear loose, cool clothing
  • Use plants – plant trees around your home to provide summer shade (and block those cold winter winds) or plant a green roof to reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 50%
  • Be window wise – use light-colored draperies and shades to help reduce heat gain; seal any cracks between a window unit and the frame to stay as efficient as possible
  • Be AC Smart – if you need to use your air-conditioning unit, make sure the system is as energy efficient as possible.
    • Make sure your system is the right size for your home
    • Seal your system’s ducts to maximize its efficiency
    • Clean or replace its filters regularly
    • Use your AC just to take the edge of the heat, not to keep your home at frigid temperatures
    • A 2 degree adjustment to your thermostat setting (lower in winter, higher in the summer) can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 500 pounds a year

These simple steps can help keep your home cool without a heavy environmental cost.


How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, by Joanna Yarrow