Now that the heat of summer is upon us, it is time to make the big choice – how will you stay cool this summer? If your automatic answer is air conditioning, it’s time for some serious soul-searching. Air conditioning is huge waste of electricity and balloons your carbon footprint. Before you install your units or flip the switch, consider alternative methods to keep cool.
1. Keep out the heat! Here in New Hampshire, it is almost always cool at night even when it is really hot during the day. In order to regulate the temperature inside your house, you can keep the windows open all night, running a fan if you want, and then close all the windows once things heat up. Light-blocking curtains work well if you have them, but, if you don’t, tacking up your winter blankets over the windows works too.
2. Plan your day around the sun. Adopt a siesta schedule for the summer, if you can. Don’t plan to drive anywhere, run, bike, garden, or even swim in the hottest hours of the day (between 11 and 2) if you can help it. Save these activities for the mornings and evenings when it is cooler. Swimming in the evening before bed is a great way to cool off.
3. Set up a summer kitchen. Your fridge and your freezer are your best friends in a heat wave. And no, I don’t mean you should stand in the open door of your fridge for hours! Stock your fridge and freezer with cool drinks and snacks, like homemade popsicles, gazpacho, and sun tea. Keep your oven and stovetop powered down and choose sandwiches and cold snacks instead.
4. Dress for the weather. Dress in light colored, thin clothes and tie up long hair. Invest in a wide-brimmed hat and a loose-fitting sun shirt for when you need to go out in the bright sun.
5. When the nights get really hot, camp out in the coolest place in your house. When I was a kid, we used to have an old mattress in the basement for really hot nights and my sister and I would sleep down there. Camping outside is also a great way to get away from the heat of the house.
6. If you’re desperate for some AC, visit a public place already running one. Go to the library, a bookstore, a grocery store, or a restaurant or cafe to cool off. If you can, get yourself a cool drink (in a reusable cup) while you’re there.
I hope these tricks will help you to keep cool without the AC this summer. I have lived in New Hampshire for the majority of my life and have never used an AC. I’ve certainly been hot sometimes, but I’m proud of my Yankee hardiness. Join the AC-free NH crowd now!