When things start heating up, that summertime sauna that is July and August, we have just got to get some relief. Outside is lovely, going scantily clad so much fun, the pool and sea are seductive, and flip-flops are the footwear of champions. What fun it would seem to have an excuse to make lemonade, to scarf some ice cream, to eat dinner cold, to grab one more beer from the cooler. But, sit in a hot room for too long, and all that joy turns into steam.
There are things we can do to help with hot spaces. There are things that don’t involve lowering the AC yet again then fretting over the electric bill skyrocketing and the environment shuttering. We can cool spaces without air conditioning, and doing so can save us money, shrink our carbon footprint, and even put us into a better groove with the natural world.
Close Curtains During the Day
Closing the curtains during the day helps to prevent the sun from shining in and heating up the room. This is particularly true for south- and west-facing windows, which will be opened to the sun. Dark curtains are even better when doing this. North-facing windows shouldn’t be a problem at all, at least not in the northern hemisphere, so they can provide some ambient light and connection to the outside world.
Closing the curtains each morning and opening them in the evening put us in a nice rhythm with cycles of the day.
Open the Windows and (Interior) Doors at Night
Once the sun has gone down, it’s time to open the windows and interior doors so that the cool night air and breezes can circulate through the house. While there are certainly some places in the US that are still hot at night (Louisiana, I’m talking to you!), most places are naturally quite comfortable from evening until mid-morning. So, rather than running the AC all night, we could take advantage and give the planet a break.
Of course, like open and closing curtains, tending to the windows and doors every evening and morning keeps us in tune with the goings-on of the sun and moon.
LED Lights for Less Heat & Easy on the Appliances
Most light bulbs put out a notable amount of heat, often enough to heat spaces in the winter to prevent freezing, but LED lights—which last much longer and use less energy anyway—do not. Furthermore, we could probably avoid using certain appliances, like ovens (go for no-bake treats) and dryers (hang the clothes out), to prevent further heating the house. With a little forethought, we can probably time our appliance use to make more sense when it’s hot out.
Taking these steps towards energy efficiency means we are working with and on behalf of the planet rather than abusing it. That’s a better way to relate to Mother Earth.
Coolin’ with a Fan, Man
Fans use significantly less energy than air conditioners, and they provide instant relief from the heat. Rather than cranking the AC into overdrive, it’s better we opt to turn the fan on to cool down. Fans concentrate their energy towards the beneficiary, presumably a hot person perhaps just coming in from the humidity outside, as opposed to cooling the entire house. This is a good way of remembering we don’t have to adjust the entire world (or house) to be comfortable.
Coolin’ with a Fan, Man – Part 2: It’s the Time of the Season
For those houses with ceiling fans, it’s important to switch their direction in accordance with the season. In the winter, we want fans circulating so that they send air up to the ceiling to push warm air from above into the room. In the summer, we want the opposite. When they spin, we want the air coming down to provide a breeze so that the room actually feels cooler. Obviously, adjusting our homes and habits to fit the different seasons puts us in touch with earth rotation around the sun.
Coolin’ with a Fan, Man – Part 3: Ice Cold
Another fun fan feature is the ice-cold output. Get a couple of old, empty plastic bottles, such as a two-liter soda bottle or a gallon jug from, say, vinegar. Fill them with water and freeze them. When a room is especially hot, position one of these icy jugs behind the fan so that it is sucking the cool air from around it and dispersing it into the room. Be sure to put the jug/bottle on something to catch the condensation that drips off of it. Then, freeze it again for next time. This is a great energy and resource saver. The freezer is on anyway, and the water/ice can be used again and again so as not to waste it.
Coolin’ with a Fan, Man – Part 4: Swampy Style
In hot, dry climates, people use swamp coolers to put moisture in the air, which cools a space when it evaporates. This can be replicated with a box fan, or oscillating fan, with a moist (not dripping wet) towel hung behind it. The fan will blow moisture into the air, and that’ll cool the space down.
Note: This does not work in humid places (Louisiana, you know who you are!). Humid heat lingers, and adding moisture to it will just make the situation work.
Undoubtedly, life has gotten a lot more comfortable with the introduction of air conditioning, but just as sure, we have to start learning to live with it a little less. Air conditioners require a lot of energy and produce pollution that is actually making the planet hotter. So, it seems a good time to start exploring these alternatives for keeping cool.
- This Brilliant Invention Turns Plastic Water Bottles Into a DIY Air Conditioner – No Electricity Required!
- Air Conditioning is a Modern Luxury, but is it Costing the Planet More Than We Realize?
- How to Keep Your House (and Body) Cool This Summer Without Energy-Sucking Air Conditioners
- Just In Time For Summer Fun: An Easy, Breezy, Food-Based DIY Skin Cooling Mist
- Plants to Use for Soothing and Cooling the Skin
- 10 Cooling Foods to Eat in the Summer Heat (With Recipes)
For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!