News & Updates
How to Stay Cool on a Warming Planet
Ampion Renewable Energy
May 17, 2021
How to Stay Cool on a Warming Planet
If you’re wondering how to stay cool as climate change makes the planet warmer, we have some suggestions. The frequency of heat waves has tripled since the 1960s. The energy used for air conditioning is projected to grow faster than any other end use in homes and offices to address the extreme heat of global warming. Susan Clark, a heat expert and director of the Sustainability Initiative at the University of Buffalo, says, “The increased intensity and frequency of temperature and heat waves are part of the projections for the future.”
What’s a person to do when you’d like to stay cool without doing environmental harm? As it turns out, we can do a lot, as the tips below suggest. While you’re considering what works best for you — whether it’s signing up for a shared community solar program or studying up on window ventilation techniques — it’s good to know the challenging work of developing clean air conditioning technology is underway in some places.
Whether or not you have air conditioning there are a variety of ways to stay cool at home. For those interested in extra measures, there are ways to reduce the environmental and electric cost of air conditioning too.
Cool House Tips for Homeowners
- Some climbing vines can dramatically reduce the maximum temperatures of a house by shading walls from the sun, reducing the daily temperature fluctuation by as much as 50%. Choose carefully because some vines erode your outer wall (e.g. the mortar between bricks).
- Awnings and shutters can be sophisticated and flexible; you have the choice whether to let the sun in or not while allowing ventilation.
- It’s easy and enjoyable to grill hot meals outside – which is a good thing. Outdoor cooking keeps the stove and oven from heating up your house while the A/C is trying to cool it.
- Attic fans and whole house fans can help reduce cooling loads. Ceiling fans operate at a fraction of the cost of air conditioning. But they only keep you cool rather than cool the room.
- Natural ventilation can capture and create a breeze throughout the house. Here’s a smart technique if you have double hung windows: open the bottom section of the upwind side of the house and the upper section of the downwind side, creating natural currents moving air through your house.
- If you can, take advantage of cooler nighttime temperatures. That’s the best time to open as many windows as you can as soon as the temperature starts dropping.
- But when the temperature outside starts to rise, close your windows, and lower your blinds. Close curtains too if you have them. Your home might become dark inside, but it should stay cooler, especially if it’s well insulated. Blocking the sun’s rays means your home is absorbing less heat.
Make it easier for your A/C to do its job.
The harder your air conditioner works to cool things, the greater the environmental and electric use impact.
- Any room will cool down by turning off and unplugging electronics like the television, computers, and game consoles, as well as turning off lamps and ceiling lights. When electronics are plugged in, they release heat that warms up a room.
- Incandescent lights also give off a lot of heat. What’s more, they use more energy. LEDs solve both those problems.
- A programmable thermostat can shave up to 15% off your cooling bill. Preset controls that turn off the A/C or adjust the temperature so you don’t have to remember to do it takes our forgetfulness out of the equation.
- It’s also beneficial to set the A/C at a higher temperature at night when you’re sleeping.
- Did you know that older window A/C units use a lot more energy than newer models? That leads to higher electric bills. If you’re upgrading or adding A/C, check out these energy efficiency rebates for cooling in IL, NY, MA, ME, and other states.
- Set reminders to change your A/C filters – those dirty filters cause the A/C to work overtime, costing you money.
Support clean local solar power.
- If your air conditioning and fans are on for the season, with the benefits of subscribing to a shared Community Solar farm, you join the growing number of people who want their electricity to come from clean solar energy. Supporting community solar spurs the growth of solar gardens that your utility draws clean energy from into your grid. You’ll feel great about displacing those fossil fuels at the source!
Subscribing to solar share programs is a long-lasting solution without upfront investments in time and money. Ampion offers many opportunities to participate in shared solar programs.Check out Community Solar options near you.