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Share to PinterestEco-friendly and Affordable Cooling Options for the Summer

Eco-friendly and Affordable Cooling Options for the Summer

By Courtney Combs-Harrab
Share to PinterestEco-friendly and Affordable Cooling Options for the Summer

As the summer sun blazes down and temperatures soar, the need to cool our homes without harming the planet becomes more pressing. The search for eco-friendly cooling methods is intensifying, with technology and regulations working hard to keep up.

In this era of heightened environmental awareness, finding greener solutions is crucial. The traditional air conditioning systems we rely on come with significant costs:

  • Running a 12,000 BTU air conditioner non-stop for four months can drain your wallet by $432 to $864.
  • Beyond the financial hit, air conditioning can trigger health issues like respiratory problems, allergies, and dehydration.
  • Alarmingly, these systems pump out 118 million metric tons of CO2 each year, accelerating climate change.
  • Air conditioning alone accounts for 6% of the nation’s electricity use, with a staggering $29 billion annual price tag.

Clearly, we need a sustainable alternative.

Thankfully, recent moves such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s tougher limits on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and global efforts like the Kigali Amendment offer hope in the fight against climate change.

While large-scale changes might take time, eco-conscious consumers can lead the way. There are practical steps you can take right now to reduce your reliance on air conditioning while staying cool, proving that comfort and sustainability can go hand in hand.


Take advantage of good ventilation

Share to PinterestSenior woman on a sofa suffering from excessive heat during a heatwave

Good ventilation is essential for eco-friendly cooling options. Optimizing natural ventilation cools your home significantly by facilitating the exchange of indoor and outdoor air and reducing humidity levels.

Here's how to improve ventilation:

  • Make the most of natural ventilation by closing windows during the day and opening them at night to let in cooler air.
  • Install exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms to remove moisture, odors, and pollutants.
  • Add attic and roof vents to prevent heat buildup.
  • Promote cross-ventilation by opening windows on opposite sides of the house.
  • Consider trickle vents for continuous fresh air flow while minimizing drafts.
  • Use portable air purifiers with HEPA filters to remove pollutants and allergens.
  • Maintain HVAC systems for optimal performance and airflow, reducing energy usage.
  • Design with natural ventilation in mind, incorporating features like high ceilings and large windows.
  • Using fans optimizes airflow, aiding in cooling while consuming less energy than AC units.
  • Ceiling fans and portable fans help distribute air evenly throughout a room, promoting evaporative cooling by increasing air movement over the skin.
  • Control sunlight and airflow with curtains, blinds, or shades to regulate temperature and improve ventilation.


Create targeted cooling zones to minimize energy waste

Share to Pinterestphotography of grey, white, and brown wooden house interior with three brown wooden Windsor chairs beside brown hammock with glass windows
Photo by Ostap Senyuk on Unsplash

In empty rooms, close the doors and vents. This redirects air conditioning to areas where it's needed most, reducing the demand on the system.

Additionally, sectioning off a room without a door with a blanket or curtain can further promote a cool environment while limiting energy consumption. This approach allows for personalized comfort and energy savings without compromising overall cooling effectiveness.


Use thermal curtains

Share to Pinterestclose up photo of white window curtain
Photo by Maria Orlova on Unsplash

Thermal curtains offer an effective solution for controlling indoor temperatures. By keeping windows and doors closed during the day and drawing the curtains, these specially designed curtains block sunlight and heat transfer, thus maintaining cooler indoor temperatures and reducing the need for air conditioning.

Made from insulating materials, thermal curtains serve a dual purpose, trapping heat in the winter and blocking sunlight in the summer, ensuring year-round temperature control.


Buy some plants

Share to PinterestRelaxed young lady spend time in cozy indoor garden

Plants, particularly indoor plants, provide many advantages when it comes to eco-friendly cooling. Through a process called transpiration, plants release moisture into the air, mimicking the cooling effect of natural evaporation. Plants also absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutants, improving air quality.

Strategically placing these air-purifying plants throughout the home can help create a cooler space. Varieties such as Ficus Benjamina and Areca Palm are particularly effective at battling high temperatures and humidity.

Planting trees and shrubs on the south and west sides of the property reduces solar heat gain and internal temperatures. The installation of trellises or climbing plants to shade windows and walls also reduces heat absorption.


Use smart thermostats

Share to PinterestA meteostation on the wall. Smart home control system.

Smart thermostats offer significant savings by adjusting settings based on your absence, sleep patterns, and weather fluctuations. Unlike programmable thermostats, smart models learn your heating and cooling habits to create customized schedules.

They utilize geofencing and motion sensing to determine when to adjust temperatures, and some can even incorporate weather forecasts to regulate HVAC systems. Wi-Fi connectivity lets users control their heating and cooling remotely, enhancing convenience and energy efficiency.


Update your insulation

Share to Pinterestperson in blue pants sitting on brown wooden floor
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Proper insulation prevents heat transfer, maintaining cooler indoor temperatures without over-dependence on air conditioning. Efficiently insulated homes retain cool air during the summer months and prevent heat from entering, reducing the workload on air conditioning systems.

Common insulation materials include fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam, which are installed in walls, floors, and attics to build a thermal barrier. By improving insulation levels, homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint and lower utility bills.


Install a cool roof

Share to Pinteresta red roof with a blue sky in the background

A cool roof is designed to reflect sunlight and absorb less solar energy. It's similar to wearing light-colored clothing on a sunny day to keep cool. Alternatively, conventional roofs can reach temperatures exceeding 150°F on a summer afternoon, whereas a reflective roof could remain more than 50°F cooler.

This saves energy and money in air-conditioned buildings and promotes comfort and safety in those without AC by reducing heat flow from the roof into occupied spaces.

Most cool roofs boast high "thermal emittance," shedding heat by emitting "thermal infrared" radiation. While nearly any building can benefit from a cool roof, considerations such as climate and other factors should guide decisions on installation.


Install air-to-air heat pumps

Share to PinterestAttractive woman chilling and feeling very relaxed on the sofa while enjoying her new ac unit during a hot summer

Air-to-air heat pumps work by transferring heat between indoor and outdoor spaces through refrigerant cycles. They extract warmth from indoor air, absorb it into the refrigerant, and then expel it outside.

This mechanism enables them to offer effective cooling in hot regions by capitalizing on the natural outdoor temperatures. Air-to-air pumps help cut down on energy usage and decrease greenhouse gas emissions linked to air conditioning, presenting a greener option for indoor climate control.


The adoption of eco-friendly cooling methods

Share to Pinterestwoman sitting on hammock
Photo by Kinga Howard on Unsplash

By choosing these eco-conscious and economical cooling strategies, homeowners can significantly diminish their carbon footprint, save on energy expenses, and cultivate healthier homes.

The adoption of eco-friendly cooling methods benefits individuals and plays a crucial role in fostering a greener, more resilient future for communities. As households increasingly integrate these sustainable practices into their routines, they actively participate in shaping a future where environmental preservation and human well-being are interconnected, thereby laying the foundation for a more sustainable coexistence between humanity and our shared planet.

Through a holistic approach encompassing natural ventilation utilization, integration of indoor flora, adoption of energy-efficient appliances, and mindful design choices, homeowners can enjoy spaces that maintain optimal comfort levels throughout the scorching summer season.



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