It gets hot and...we turn the ac on full blast. Ahhh. That feels so refreshing! Unfortunately, we're using a lot of electricity to air condition all the homes throughout the first world countries that are enjoying that central air. Setting our thermostats to 70 degrees all summer long is just not a sustainable way to stay cool. Instead, why not try some eco-friendly home cooling tips that will help you reduce your need for central air?

Beef Up Home Insulation

Once upon a time, we made homes with nice, thick walls. Those walls can make an incredible difference in the temperature of the house all summer long. I'm sitting in my house with 92 degree temperatures and a heat index of 101 outside and my living room, which was built over 100 years ago, has a temperature of 82 degrees after the third day of extremely high temperatures in a row. You're thinking I have the air on, right. Nope. No ceiling fan, no air conditioning. And it isn't very humid in there either.

On the other hand, my family room, which was added on around 20 years ago, has a window air conditioner running and a ceiling fan circulating in it and is...82 degrees and a little humid. I have one layer of insulation between the family room walls and they were made with new construction techniques, which means the walls are about half as thick as the original house walls. I think I need to beef up my home's insulation in the newer part of the house!

Plant Some Trees
Trees Can Be a Very Eco-Friendly Home Cooling Tool
Thick walls don't get all the credit, though. The living room side of my house has something else going for it. It is shaded by a row of trees. I have some trees planted on the south side of the house, but they aren't as established as the ones on the living room side. Before I planted those south side trees, my family room was more of a two season room! Planting trees on the South side of a house in a warm climate is one of the best eco-friendly home cooling choices you can make. You may want to avoid putting in evergreen tree varieties, though. You want your trees to lose their leaves in winter so you get the benefit of the sun warming your home in the colder months.

Install Ceiling Fans

I really can't understand why designers on all those TV home decorating shows insist on removing the ceiling fans as they redo rooms. I'd really be upset if I came into the room for a big reveal and saw that mine was gone! Ceiling fans can really make a difference in room temperature and can help keep cool air moving without sending energy bills through the roof.

Switch to Energy Saving Light Bulbs

I used an ordinary light bulb when I was brooding our chicks a few weeks ago. To be greener, I decided to switch to an energy saving light bulb. Even though it was the same wattage, the temperature went down. I had to switch the brooder back to the old fashioned energy guzzling light bulb to get the temperature back up. Then, I went through the house to double check all my other bulbs to make sure they were energy savers. I don't know how much cooler they make each room, but every little bit helps!

If you use just one of these energy saving tips, you can help your family have a cooler, more eco-friendly home this summer.

Photo: SXC