Summer’s hot but your house doesn’t have to be: Sustainable living at home series

Sustainable living can be done in sneaky ways and also come in simply the nature of colors. It is generally grammar school science knowledge that dark colors absorb heat and lighter shades reflect the sun’s rays. Taking that principle into interior thermal control and your house could be soaking in up to 90 percent of the harsh summer glares with a dark pain job which will translate into a higher demand for air condition and other cooling methods. If you don’t necessarily want to repaint your entire house you could instead install a kind of paper that is foil based, attached to the roof, and is what is known as radiant barriers.

You could also be sticking to sustainable living by looking to that green thumb; landscaping techniques can actually work wonders for keeping your home cool by taking advantage of available shade. Conversely, other methods are prone to work in the colder months where that wind chill could be working a number on that thermostat! Other measures to keep those inside temperatures down in the summer without relying on any additional electricity are by using a thermal siphoning standard which means you will want to open up windows that are located on the lowest level of the side of your house that receives cool airflow and alternately opening up the opposite windows on the other side. As the cool air rushes in it will push the hotter air outside. For your attic maintenance in particular you can reduce the amount of heat and accumulated moisture by both roof vents and ridge vents which are inexpensive and usually able to be installed by oneself.

Taking these sustainable living methods of cooling to the home inside, you want to bear in mind that curtains and drapes will also going to work best if in paler hues. Making sure they are as close to the window or wall is also going to work in your favor; however to still allow sunlight in to reduce the amount of lights used during the day but also keep excessive heat at bay one could opt for blinds and adjust throughout the hours. There are also shade screens that can be purchased and will be capable of reducing the intensity of the outside heat by anywhere from 50 to 90 percent.

A part of sustainable living is also acknowledging that at some point there is only so many ‘natural’ ways you can reduce your energy consumption but from that point on be aware to get the very most out of each device or plug-in outlet. A ceiling fan is going to pale in comparison to the amount of energy it uses when likened to that of a standard air conditioner; 1/10th of the wattage to be exact. Ensure the fan is blowing downward and that could wind up taking up to 9 degrees off of the reliance from the thermostat. Houses in tune with sustainable living will also be diligent to take advantage of that programmable thermostat and cut back that temperature for eight hours of the day (this can easily be done when no one is home) between 10 and 15 percent. By doing that in the summers, and the opposite in the winters, there then will be annually 10 percent less total electricity consumed due to regulating air temperatures indoors. There are plenty of sustainable living savvy tips that will further add up to cutting back on the amount of blasting air conditioners, so check back for part two of this sustainable living in the summers series!

Photo credit: Fran Ulloa