This article was guest written by Luke Smith.
Most people think of the “dog days of summer” as long, lazy days filled with fun things to do and plenty of ways to relax. But it’s also the time of year in the U.S. where much of the country is reaching extreme temperatures.
Any way you can stay cool automatically becomes the best possible activity!
This year, it’s not just hot – many places are experiencing record-breaking heat, especially in the Pacific Northwest. So, if you’re trying to be more sustainable, how can you combine those practices with staying cool and beating the heat?
It’s easier than you might think. Let’s look at some green ideas that will get you and your family through the dog days of summer without doing damage to the planet.
Utilize Your Windows
Before you even think about touching the thermostat, utilize the windows in your house to help regulate temperature. Newer homes are often built with energy-efficient windows that can reduce air loss within the home while blocking out heat from the outside. New windows are a big draw for homebuyers nowadays – especially Millennials looking for long-term homeownership with a focus on sustainability.
If you can’t afford to install new windows, there are steps you can take with your current ones to make them more energy-efficient, including:
- Utilizing insulating curtains
- Opening them when there is a cross-breeze
- Checking for and fixing air leaks
- Caulking/weather stripping
- Adding solar control film
How you use your windows can make a big difference in the temperature of your home. Open them in the evenings or early in the morning when the temperature is cooler and keep them closed during the day when the sun is at its hottest to trap in the cool air and keep things comfortable.
Get “Smart” About Staying Cool
One of the best ways to stay cool and green at the same time is to get “smart” about the temperature control in your home. Installing a smart thermostat is a great way to accomplish that.
A smart thermostat will learn the patterns of your household and adjust the heating and cooling accordingly. That’s especially helpful when no one is home. The air can be off or turned to a higher temperature during the day if you’re at work or school, which will end up wasting less energy. It’s also a great option if you’re taking a summer vacation and don’t want your air running 24/7 when you’re not at home.
Another benefit of a smart thermostat is that you can control it from anywhere. Many models give you the option to have full control over your phone. So, if you’ve had the air off all day long, you can turn it on from your smartphone an hour before you get home for things to be nice and cool.
Almost every smart appliance is going to save energy and money in your home. But, if you’re trying to be a little greener this summer, start with a smart thermostat, and you can enjoy the comfort of air conditioning without the guilt.
If you don’t want to invest in a smart thermostat right now, the next best thing is to make sure your HVAC unit is properly maintained. Keep an eye out for leaks and hire a qualified technician to make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible all season long.
Cool Down Your Body
The human body expels energy and heat. If you have multiple people in your home or you’re moving around a lot, you can actually heat up a room by a few degrees! In addition to making your home cool and sustainable, it’s important to keep yourself cool throughout the summer, too.
Start by taking care of your mind and body with things like:
- Healthy eating
Self-care can reduce your stress levels and keep you calm, which will help to regulate your body temperature and keep you from getting overheated. You can also cool yourself off by eating and drinking cold things, putting a cold towel across your forehead, or running cool water along your pulse points.
If all else fails, you might need to leave your home for a while to cool off your body. Head to a local pool or “splash pad” to have some fun while chilling out. If all else fails, try spending an hour or so in your local supermarket browsing the aisles. Most shopping centers and grocery stores are well air-conditioned, so you can take advantage of it without having to crank your A/C at home. As a bonus, spend some extra time in the freezer section!
By the time you get home, you should be cool and relaxed, so you won’t expel any extra heat into your house.
There are plenty of ways to keep your home green and cool during the dog days of summer. Keep these tips in mind, especially if you’re dealing with record temperatures. You can do your part for the planet without suffering through a heatwave in your home with just a few simple changes.