Save Money, Fight Climate Change: 5 Ways to Stay Cool This Summer
It's basic physics: light colored roofs reflect light -- and heat -- while darker ones absorb it. For all the simplicity of the idea, the potential savings impact is huge: Homes with light colored paint or shingles can cost up to 20 percent less to cool. Plus, all that solar energy causes dark-colored shingles to wear out more quickly, shortening the life of the roof. (For more detail, check out our Savings Experiment video below.) So if you're due for a roof replacement anytime soon, consider cooling off your roof with lighter shingles, or aluminum panels painted white.Paint Your Roof
As a side note, if your roof is flat, you might consider installing a green roof. Not only do they provide a great place to plant veggies, but green roofs can help conserve water while lowering your heating and cooling costs even further!
Turn Off the Stove!
This seems pretty obvious, but if you're in the middle of a heat wave, try not to cook indoors. If you have the option, grill outside; alternatively, try a picnic-style dinner of sandwiches, salads, gazpacho, and other chilled foods.
While you're at it, you might want to cut down on other sources of indoor heat, like incandescent lights, hair dryers, clothes washers and dryers, and dishwashers. Try running washers and dryers at non-peak hours, think about installing CFL bulbs, make sure to turn off your lights, and keep appliances properly cleaned and serviced so they run at maximum efficiency.
Most of the cooling that you feel on a daily basis comes from liquid evaporating off your skin. With that in mind, you'll find that you'll stay much cooler if you keep lots of air moving around. Strategically placed fans keep cool air moving. Experiment with cross-ventilation: on the shady side of your house, position your fans to blow air in. Meanwhile, on the sunny side, position fans to blow air out.Ventilate
You don't have to rely on perspiration -- or even on fans -- to keep your body cool. You can help things along with a cold, water-soaked washcloth or with a misting spray bottle filled with water. If you really need to cool down, take a short shower, followed by a long, relaxing nap in front of a fan.Evaporate
If it gets really hot and you really want to save on cooling, you'll need to get creative. Try going to the park -- or anywhere with trees -- cooling your heels in the local library, or strolling around the mall. Drink a lot of water. Avoid coffee, alcohol and soft drinks, as they can dehydrate you. Personally, I've found that showering with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Magic Soap makes me feel a few degrees cooler (although, admittedly, the effect is diminished once temperatures go over 90 degrees). Or you could get really creative: BrokeMillennial advises snuggling up with bottles of frozen water to help keep you cool at night!Get Creative!