Go Green, Save Money and Save the Earth: Stay Cool and Green this summer

Kim Hornung-Marcy

June 01, 2023

Stay cool and green this summer

There are many ways to cool our homes that end up reducing our utility bills. The added benefit is they lower our energy use, lower our carbon footprint, and fight climate change.
 
Keep windows shut and close your shades or blinds especially on southern and western windows.

Block the sun. Install awnings or plant deciduous trees so they shade the sunniest parts of your home. Trees sequester carbon and if they drop their leaves in the winter that allows the sun to heat your home when you need it.  

Insulation in the basement, walls or attic helps block heat and cold. This leads to year-round savings on your utility bills and lowers your carbon footprint. There are state and federal rebates for insulation. 

Look to keeping your cooling system several degrees warmer.  Each degree warmer saves you money.  Heat pumps often feature a drying setting which takes less energy as it de-humidifies your home. Often this is all you need to get through the hottest points in the day.  This setting uses less energy, saves money and lowers your carbon footprint.

Wear loose cotton or linen clothing. These fabrics are coolest.

Adjust ceiling fans. For best cooling they should run counter clockwise and be set on medium or high. In winter they work best set on low and running clockwise.

Close off rooms you are not using, keep the coolest air where you are.

When it cools down at night open windows and doors that have screens and cool your home down naturally.  In the fall take your screens down and the sunlight will warm your home more effectively.

Cook dinner in the backyard or at a park to keep the home cooler. Or choose meals that don’t require a stove.  Microwaves and toaster ovens use less energy than regular stoves and generate less heat.

Make sure all your lights are LED. These are much cooler than other options and use less energy.

Hack a fan. If you don’t have a heat pump or air conditioner you can put a shallow bowl or pan of ice in front of a fan and enjoy the cool air. Sipping cool drinks and putting cool wash clothes on your neck also helps you cool down.

If it's time for an air conditioner upgrade, research energy star appliances which will save you money and are more efficient. There are rebates for these from state or federal sources.

Air or ground source heat pumps heat as well as cool.  These reduce your fuel bill but will increase your electricity use.  Most electricity in New England is cleaner than burning fossil fuel for temperature control.  It is often cheaper than fossil fuel as well. There are rebates from federal and state level sources for heat pumps

For information on state rebates go to your state's section on our Creation Care resource pages at https://www.neumc.org/creationcare