House Cooling - If you would like to reduce your impact on the environment, and create a smaller carbon footprint, then try some of the following tips to reduce your electricity and energy usage, this also helps with passive house cooling.
If you don't think you can make that big a difference, get out of that mindset, because if every house just did "something" to reduce their energy costs, it certainly adds up in numbers.
If you normally have your air conditioner belting out, you must know that this is one of the biggest energy users during the summer. If you are looking for some house cooling this summer, then try some of the below tips as well. Saving energy will also effect the bottom line of your house running costs too!.
1. Turn your air conditioning up a few degrees. You do not need to be cold, just cool. You will notice a big difference in your electricity bill, if you save the air conditioning for "emergency heat" meaning a big heat wave. Many people just switch over to air conditioning the minute it gets warm out there. If you are down to your knickers and you are sweltering, then use it. You should not have your air conditioning set, in such a way that you need to wear a sweater! Do not laugh, I see this a lot! Have it set for 78 degrees or more. Just enough to keep the edge off.
2. Stop the heat. Stop adding heat to the house that your air conditioning has to deal with. It amazes me, to go and visit friends for dinner, who will have pots boiling on the stove and the oven going all afternoon and of course the air conditioning trying to cool it all down. Stop cooking in the house during the summer months. Many people have well insulated houses now, and all that heat from the stove and oven is likely to raise the temps in the house and stay there! All the appliances in their own way add heat to the house in the summer too. Your air conditioner, if you have one, is going to have to work double time to cool down your house.
Cook outside on the barbeque, or eat lots of cold dinners and salads. If you must cook or bake anything, do it in the later evening when things have cooled down a bit. When you use your barbeque, cook a couple of dinners. One for the present and maybe a chicken that you can cut up and eat cold the next night. Use your microwave as much as possible, it does not give off the same heat.
3. Change out your light bulbs to those compact fluorescents they do not give off the same heat, and turn off any lights you are not using. This also save energy.
4. Change your shower head. Go for a low flow one, this will save on hot water, and save on energy costs.
5. Insulate your hot water pipes and hot water tank, stop them from giving off heat into the house, and retain the heat in the unit.
6. Turn off your computer overnight. Consider purchasing an energy saving one. Computers and office equipment can add a lot of heat to the house, especially if you have a home office.
7. Open the windows at night for cooler air, if you feel safe doing so, and let this be natural passive house cooling overnight. In the morning, you can shut the windows, and keep the air conditioning on low.
8. Wash your clothes in cold water. There are many detergents out on the market that are environmentally friendly and are designed to be used in cold water. Don't even turn on the hot water to your machine. Then you will not use it! I just keep mine set at cold/cold for wash and rinse.
9. Dry your clothes outside. Use the outdoor clothesline in the nice weather when you can. If you follow the daily weather reports, you can even do your laundry at night, after the peak hours of energy use, and hang them up at night, leave them out overnight ready for the next day. This way you can still dry them outside and still get to work, and they will smell great. They will be nice and dry when you get home. This is the way it was done years ago!
10. Plant drought resistant plants outside, and some shade shrubs by the windows that get the most sun. Purchase some heat reflecting blinds, that you can use on the sunniest and hottest windows, they reflect the heat back outside.
The above 10 tips, are not just for house cooling, but to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. Can you imagine the difference you can make in your town, if everyone did even half of these changes?
Also, there is incentive in savings. I purchased a front loader machine when my other machine died. I had no idea just how much water I was using. My water softener back flushes every 1000 gallons, as we have hard water. This was usually once a week. Since purchasing the new front loader machine, and changing out the shower head to a low flow one (don't even notice the difference in water pressure) the softener only goes off every 2 weeks now sometimes longer! This proves to me, just how much water was being used, and we thought we were being good! So, I save on salt purchases.
My gas bill went down, because we were not going through the hot water, after I switched us to cold water washing, and the low flow shower heads. Also, I dry my clothes outside in the summer months, and I have a indoor drying rack now for the winter. I put it in the warmest room, and they dry.
My electric bill went down, because I started making sure things were turned off. Those big screen TV's take a lot of power, even when they are off, you need to unplug them. You can have them on a power bar, and switch them off over night. The same with your computer, unless you have a energy saving sleeper one.
We don't have air conditioning, and so on the nights building up to summer, it is still cool, we open our windows for cool air flow, and house cooling, and then shut them for during the day. Our house is well insulated and therefore retains the cooled air for most of the day. We close the blinds on the sunny and hot windows, and we do fine. We had thought of purchasing a air conditioner, but in the end we find by practicing these energy saving tips, we also seem to be keeping our house cool and saving money and reducing our energy footprint.