How to Ride this Heat Wave

Posted on July 22, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , |

This summer is panning out to be a scorcher.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has already reported that this past June was the hottest June on record.  Aiming to live a greener lifestyle can help to alleviate the amount of carbon that your daily activities directly and indirectly emit into the atmosphere.  However, combating global climate change is not a short-term endeavor with quick results.

But there are some things that you can do now that will show immediate results and provide some relief from this heat.

1) While summer is not the ideal planting season, you should look into planting shade trees on your property and around your home.  One shade tree on your property can equate to a 15% savings on home cooling bills.  This is because shade trees reflect radiant heat from the summer sun.  Many of us live in urbanized areas that suffer from “urban heat island effects“, where temperatures are often 5-10 degrees warmer than in nearby rural areas.  Trees and vegetation can help to mitigate this heat island effect.

2) Draw your shades!  By simply keeping your blinds shut during the most intense sun hours of 11am-4pm, you can save 10% on summer cooling bills.

3) Buy a fan rather than turning your thermostat lower.  The urge to turn the dial to below 75F can be great, but for every degree that you turn your thermostat lower in the summer, you increase your utility bill by 3-5%.  A fan is a cheap and effective method of keeping your house comfortable during hot days.

4) Schedule a home energy audit.  I’ve covered this topic before, but I cannot give it enough attention.  An average American home wastes up to 75% of the energy that it consumer, by allowing cool air to escape through poorly insulated windows, doors, and attics in the summer (and warm air in the winter).  Two wonderful companies that conduct energy efficiency audits are:  EcoBeco and Weatherize DC.  A small upfront cost could save you literally thousands over the course of a few years.

Learn more about quick summer fixes here:


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