For most homeowners, switching on the air conditioner means watching their energy bills skyrocket during summer and cringe at the thought of adding to their share of carbon footprints. According to the Energy Department in the US, air conditioners uses up to one sixth of the electricity during really hot summer days, which consumes over 43% of the power load. Cooling systems emit over half a billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, which adds to global warming. These poisonous gases also add up to 24% of sulfur dioxide, a chief ingredient found in acid rain.
There are so many passive cooling techniques that could cut down on your home’s cooling costs every year without investing in expensive appliances or specialized installations. To keep the indoors cool and comfortable is the absolute aim for everyone at home. If you would like to cut back on your air conditioner usage, save money on energy bills and decrease your carbon footprint, then try out these tips to cool your home with less impact to the environment.
- Install ceiling fans so that cool air can circulate to every area of your home. Using a ceiling fan can cool the indoors by up to 5 degrees.
- Check for drafts in windows, doors and crawl spaces so that cool air is not lost outdoors. To help you seal the conditioned air, you can try caulking, weather stripping and insulating to all areas with slight openings.
- Install solar attic fans to decrease hot air trapped in the attic, making the home easier to cool. This will help in decreasing your energy bill by up to 10%.
- Install curtains or drapes to keep out harsh sunlight and reduce the temperature as well. If you feel the room is too dark, then you can open windows in the rooms you use for good air circulation.
- Reduce sources of humidity indoors. This results in less condensation on your air conditioner coils, thereby lowering hidden sources of heat and saving electricity. You can use exhaust fans in the bathroom/kitchen, cover pots while cooking and vent the clothes dryer to the outside.
- Reduce heat sources like electric bulbs, televisions, kitchen appliances and electric appliances. Don’t place these appliances near the cooling system as they give off heat and make the unit work extra hard to cool the indoors.
- Find alternative cooking methods like microwaving, barbequing or pressure cooking so that there is very less heat given off while cooking. The microwave generates no heat with very less energy consumption, the barbeque keeps the heat outside and the pressure cooker reduces the cooking time by half.
- Plant more trees in your garden or yard at strategic spots to keep the heat out and provide shade. Crawling vines planted on the sides of your home will help in insulation.
- Install solar screens for the windows as they keep the heat out during the hot months and can be removed in the cold months.
- Paint light colors for your home’s walls and the roof which deflects rather than absorb the heat.
- Turn off boilers and geysers in your home to stop the hot water flow as most homes don't have insulated water lines. This way you can avoid paying for air conditioning to remove the heat as a result of the hot water circulating within the walls of your home.
- Seal ducts in attics and crawl spaces using the appropriate materials by a qualified technician.
Shut off gas supply to heaters and fireplaces as the pilot light generates heat. Dampers also need to be shut so that the loss of cool air is minimized.