Keeping Your Cool
Home energy costs are typically discussed in the wintertime, but can also play a role in summer. The cost of keeping your home cool can be reduced, if the following tips are used.
Even if you have air conditioning, which can do a great job of keeping your house cool, implementing other cooling methods can help reduce your cooling costs. Like most energy-efficient methods, some of these tips incur upfront costs that will be recovered in lower cooling costs or higher comfort over time.
Most of the summer heat in our homes comes from the sun. Keeping that heat out of our homes to begin with makes the job of cooling that much easier. The first step is to reflect as much sunlight as possible. Choosing light colors for exterior surfaces or applying reflective coatings to roofs and windows can accomplish this.
The second layer of defense is to block as much sunlight as possible. This can be done through natural and artificial means. Trees and other landscaping features can block significant amounts of sunlight. Trees that lose their leaves in the fall are often the most energy efficient because they will block the summer sun, but allow the winter sun to help keep your home warm. External awnings and shutters and internal shades and blinds are great at blocking your windows. Insulating and sealing doors, windows, attics, and garages are also an effective way to keep the cool in and the heat out.
Opening up your windows during cool times, either at night or anytime a cool breeze is present, will help to naturally regulate the temperature in your home. Opening windows at different levels on opposite sides of your home will create a natural airflow as well.
One last heat reduction method is to limit the amount of heat generated within your home. The main sources of heat are appliances, specifically ovens and clothes dryers. Cooking outdoors and line drying your clothes can both reduce the heat generated in your home. If appliances must be used, consider running them at cool periods of the day when natural airflow is present. Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances will not only reduce your electric bill but the heat output of the devices as well.
Investing the time to implement efficient cooling strategies can end up saving you money in reduced cooling costs. Many of the above steps will also make your home less costly to heat in the winter. In addition to the added comfort you’ll feel, your actions will also have a positive environmental impact.
Saturday, June 28th, 2008 at 10:40 am