- Keep the blinds closed in your home. This probably seems obvious, but we often forget how much heat comes in through the windows all day-- a full 30% of your stuffy home’s temperature. Keeping blinds, shades and curtains closed during the day can lower temps by up to 20 degrees, so give it a try. It’s a no-cost way to keep cool, save money and lower your energy footprint.
- Use a sun shade in your car. Reducing car temperatures by up to 40 degrees, sun shades are inexpensive, protect your dashboard and upholstery, and come in a variety of sizes and styles.
- In both the car and at home, try focusing on lowering your body temperature instead of the temperature of the space. After all, your ancestors survived without air-conditioning, so you can too! To reduce your body temp quickly, sip a cool drink or put a cold cloth on your pulse points, particularly your neck and wrists. Check out cool packs--filled with gels that retain a low temperature--online.
- Turn off the oven. Heating the oven often means heating the house. We still have to eat, though, so how about learning to make some meals without using your oven? Of course, summer salads are a nutritious and quick way to create a meal without cooking. Try adding non-meat protein like tofu, cooked beans and rice, tempeh, and nuts to your salad to make a healthy, satisfying and eco-friendly meal. And remember, organic produce is good for you and the planet.
- Cook outdoors. Use your grill and you won't heat up the house. Gas grills use non-renewable fossil fuels, though they get hot quickly and emit less smoke and particulate matter than charcoal or electric grills. Charcoal grills add more flavor to your food than either gas or electric grills, though they release more carbon than either type. Lighter fluid and charcoal briquettes add ground-level ozone to the air, according to the EPA. To offset those effects, use lump charcoal (produced from wood) and a charcoal chimney (instead of lighter fluid). Electric grills have the highest Green House Gas footprint, unless the electricity you're using is from a sustainable source.
- And one more for the car, freeze glass water bottles to use as ice packs. Wrap the frozen bottle in a towel and put it behind your neck to keep you cool while driving. Once it thaws, enjoy the cold water!
Thanks for reading this article; we hope you have a cool and sustainable summer. For more information, email Jude Frates at firstname.lastname@example.org.