The summer has started. With the increase in temperatures and the houses getting warmer, it is but natural to reach out to that remote and switch on the AC, window coolers or the fan to provide respite from the heat. Now not only does that sky rocket the electricity bill but sometimes it is not as effective as it should be. Did we also mention that some of the cooling gadgets are not exactly environment friendly?
There are many ways to keep your homes and work spaces cool in the summer heat without upsetting our household budget or polluting the environment. Here are 5 ways you can achieve this:
Ensure that you keep the blinds, curtains and windows closed during the day to block out the heat from the sun, especially in rooms that face either east or west. If your room is towards the east, it is better to close them as early as 5:00 A.M. when the sun’s rays start to hit you.
After evening, open all windows and interior doors so that cool air enters the house. When you have two windows in your room, it ensures cross ventilation because of the air flow and the rooms feel less stuffy too.
Lights & Appliances
Turn off unnecessary lights and lamps, which contribute to excess heating of your home. Switch to using LED lamps that not just generate less heat, but also use up less electricity. Dryers and dishwashers are heat generating appliances that are better switched off during the summers. Drying clothes outside has other benefits as far as germs are concerned. If they have to be operated, try doing so in the early mornings or late evenings when it is cooler outside.
Fabrics and Colours
Smooth, plain fabrics give a better cooling effect than textured fabrics; so spread smooth cotton or linen covers over wool sofas or scratchy upholstery. Another point to consider in cooling your interiors is the use of colours. Light blue and green are universally considered cooling colors, so use them in upholstery, decorative items as well as wall paint. White also works well, especially as curtains in summer since it reflects heat away from the house.
Plants & Trees
Planting trees has multiple effects – one, they protect your house from direct sunlight and act as a shade; two, plants in general give up water into the air through evaporation in a process called transcription. Just as humans cool their skin by sweating, plants cool the air around them through this process. Green is a colour that is soothing to the eye, so plants can help calm your mind and some indoor plants can also purify the air in your homes.
It is recommended to restrict intense activity within the home as much as possible during the day, since the heat generated can contribute to the overall heating of your home. This is why it is better to exercise outdoors, due to which many people prefer running and swimming during summer. It is better to plan your cooking such that the stove or oven isn’t switched on throughout the day. Try to cook in one or two batches, that too either early morning or late evening. This also includes reheating food. In the old days, people used to have special summer ovens outdoors to keep them from heating up the house. A modern take on this is the outdoor barbeque or grill which also doubles up as a fun family event.
More than anything, stress tends to raise our body’s temperature. So it is only natural that keeping your mind stress free results in a cooler body. When you follow the steps mentioned above, you can rest assured that you are reducing your carbon footprint and saving money in the process, as your home becomes a calm and cool haven during the hot summer.
Image courtesy: Flickr
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