It's the peak of summer, and while that may mean vacations, sundresses, and fruity cocktails, it also means dealing with the less glamorous side of the season. This year is set to be the fourth-hottest year on record, CNN reports. While some simply tap a button on a thermostat to cool down their home, others without air conditioning (or with a guilty conscience) may be in search of environmentally friendly AC alternatives.
Here in Los Angeles, I'm one of the lucky apartment-dwellers with air conditioning. While I've grown accustomed the ticking the dial down to a brisk 72-degrees before bed each night, it's recently come to my attention that this practice is not only wreaking havoc on my energy bill, but it may also be contributing to global warming.
While most properly working air-conditioners don't release hydrofluorocarbons (chemical compounds known as HFCs that play a role in climate change in the same way that greenhouse gases do), they still account for about 6% of residential energy use nationwide and are responsible for releasing a whopping 100 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
While legislation is put in place to phase out HFCs, there are plenty of ways for you to reduce your individual carbon footprint and stay cool without air-conditioning, according to Huffington Post. For those living without the luxury of AC to begin with, these tips are for you, too. Here are eight ways to beat the heat this summer without cranking up the AC.
1. Close your blinds
About 30% of unwanted heat comes in through the windows. Be sure to close your blinds or invest in insulated curtains or blackout shades to keep out heat.
2. Buy a fan
Simple and to the point, a fan is a great alternative to AC, especially if you live in a small space. Find one that you can easily move around your home and take with you from room to room.
3. Invest in bedding
Trade out heavy bedding for lightweight cotton sheets. You can also find pillows, mattress pads, and sheets specifically designed to keep you cool during the warm summer months from brands like Chili Technology, Cool-Jams, and Chillow.
4. Sip on iced drinks
Staying cool doesn't have to mean ridding your home of heat. Keep your body cool by drinking iced beverages of your choosing.
5. Keep a cold cloth handy
Pop a damp hand towel in the freezer and wrap the chilled cloth on the back of your neck or on your wrists to cool down in a pinch.
6. Invite night air in
Open up your windows and doors in the evening to allow cool air inside your home. Just make sure you have proper screens installed so as not to invite in pesky insects along with the cool air.
7. Toss incandescent light bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs waste about 90% of the energy they use in the form of heat. Swap any remaining outdated light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent lamps or light-emitting diodes to stay cool and save energy.
8. Avoid the oven
Avoid baking at all costs during the summer. Preheating the oven will heat up your entire home, so take your cooking skills outside and grill up dinner instead. There are also plenty of yummy recipes to try that don't involve turning on the oven. Think no-bake desserts, refreshing salads, and easy sandwiches.
Try out these air-conditioning alternatives to help yourself and the environment this summer.