How to Sustainably Cool Your Home

Climate change is making summer weather hotter and dryer around the world, so you may find that you rely on your air conditioner a lot more than you used to. If you live in a climate that used to be cooler, you may not even have central air in your home – you may be relying on window units instead. And with many people still working from home at least some of the time, it can be hard to keep cooling costs down.

But higher temperatures and more hours spent at home don’t have to mean blowing your cooling budget. You can minimize your reliance on your A/C while keeping your home nice and cool and shrinking your carbon footprint. You just need to be mindful of letting heat into your house – or creating heat and humidity inside the house. Open and close your windows strategically to keep out hot air or let in cool air, and use ceiling fans to create cooling breezes in your home.

Run Large Appliances at Night

Large appliances like dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, and ovens can create a lot of heat in your house. Avoid using these appliances during the day to keep your home cool. Instead, run these appliances late at night or very early in the morning, when you can open the windows to let the heat out and cool air in. You’ll also enjoy non-peak energy pricing and save yourself some money that way, too!

Keep Windows Closed During the Day, and Open Them at Night

Opening your windows on a hot summer day lets in heat, but keeping them closed can help keep the heat out. You’ll want to open your windows again once it gets dark and things cool off outside. Open windows on both sides of your house to create a cross breeze that will flush out warm, stale air and replace it with fresh, cool air.

Hang Heat-Blocking Window Treatments

The right window treatments can do so much to keep your house cool on even the hottest summer days. Consider installing heat-blocking window film on your windows to keep heat and UV rays out of the house while still letting in light. Blackout curtains can keep out both heat and light – they’re a good choice for hanging in bedrooms and in rooms that you don’t use as much during the day.

Cellular or honeycomb blinds are another good option. These blinds are made of small, honeycomb-shaped cells that create a layer of air between your window and your home, to keep hot air out and cool air in. Of course, the best option for keeping heat from getting in through your windows is to install shutters or awnings on the outside of your windows, so that heat can’t reach the glass at all.

Use Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a great way to stay cool and comfortable in the summer, and they cost pennies to run compared to your central A/C or window units. Make sure to adjust the blade direction on your ceiling fans so that they’re spinning counter-clockwise, pushing air directly down into the room. A ceiling fan can make it feel as much as four degrees cooler in your home without actually changing the temperature.

Don’t have ceiling fans? It could be worth it to buy some ceiling fans to install in the rooms where you spend the most time. You may not need to hire an electrician to install your new ceiling fans. If you have a light fixture in the ceiling, you can replace it with a ceiling fan yourself – and you can get ceiling fans with light fixtures built-in for added utility.

Plant Native Greenery on the Sunny Side of Your House

Native greenery – shrubs, flowers, trees, and vines that are native to your climate and therefore acclimated to it – can provide shade for your house and help keep it cool. Plant greenery on the side of your house that gets the most sun. Look for greenery that will grow large enough to shade windows. Consider vining plants that can quickly grow to cover the entire side of your house and provide shade.

Make the Switch to LED Lights

Incandescent lights emit most of their energy as heat, but LED lights don’t emit much heat, so making the switch to LED lights could keep your home cooler. It can also save you money – you’ll use less electricity to operate your LED lights, and you’ll replace them a lot less often.

Keeping your home cool in the summer can be a challenge, but it’s possible, even without air conditioning. Turn your thermostat up this summer, and cool your home more sustainably. Your wallet – and your planet – will thank you.


Tags: ceiling fans, fan, heat-blocking window, interior, native greenery, sunny side, treatments

Author: Maja Markovski

Maja Markovski

A 35-year-old female architect with a passion for innovative, sustainable design. I blend creativity and functionality to transform spaces into beautiful, practical environments.


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