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How to Cool a Home (and Save the Planet While You’re at It!)

These tips can help you cool your home without burning a lot of excess energy.

HowToCoolAHome0327Keeping your home cool is easy when you blast your air conditioner all day. If you want to cool your home while saving the planet, though, you have to consider alternatives to reduce wastefulness.

Use blinds to block the sun

Direct sunlight will make your home hotter. By keeping your blinds closed, you prevent those rays from coming inside. You’ll get the best results from closing the blinds tightly with the opening facing up.

Use ceiling fans properly

Most ceilings fans have summer and winter settings. The winter setting turns the blades clockwise to push cold air to the ceiling while pulling warm air down. During the summer, set your fan to turn counterclockwise. This will create a better breeze that cools the room and helps sweat evaporate so your body stays cooler.

Change your air filter once a month

Air filters prevent debris from circulating through your home. If those filters get too dirty, they make it harder for your air conditioner to do its job. That means it stays on longer and uses more electricity. You can cut about 1 to 2% off your energy bill by replacing your filters once a month during the summer.

Use solar windows

You don’t have to avoid solar panels just because you think they look ugly. Solar windows offer a new option that will help you cool your home without pulling more energy from the grid.

Solar windows create electricity from the sunlight that shines through them. You can then use the electricity to power your home.

Companies are working on a variety of solar window products, including those made for commercial and residential properties. If you don’t want to purchase new windows for your home, you can get a clear solar window film that attaches to your window.

Use a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat makes it easy to keep your home comfortable without burning excess energy. For instance, you can program the thermostat to let the indoor temperature get warmer during the day while you’re at work. An hour before you come home, the thermostat will adjust to a more pleasant temperature. You won’t even notice that your AC isn’t running all day. That could save you $65 to $100 by the end of summer.

Place plants strategically

Knowing where to place plants outside can lower the amount of energy you use by controlling the temperature inside your home.

If possible, plant deciduous trees on your home’s west and south sides. Three strategically placed trees could help you save up to $250 a year.

You will also use less energy by planting shrubs that give your AC unit some shade. Units that operate in shaded areas use less energy cooling homes. Make sure the plants won’t clog the unit when they drop their leaves in fall.

What other ecofriendly methods do you use to keep your home cool while protecting the environment? Share your strategies in the comments below.