Thursday, June 10, 2010

Staying Cool This Summer

Series of air conditioners at UNC-CH.Image via Wikipedia
As summer approaches my mind turns to ways to keep cool. Humans are ingenious creatures and have come up with a variety of ways to stay cool. Of course, some of these are better for ourselves and the planet than others.

"Air conditioning takes indoor heat and pushes it outdoors. To do this, it uses energy, which increases production of greenhouse gases, which warm the atmosphere. From a cooling standpoint, the first transaction is a wash, and the second is a loss. We're cooking our planet to refrigerate the diminishing part that's still habitable."

So, how do you stay cool without A/C? Here's a list of my favorites:

  • Drink plenty of cool water
  • Wear light weight light colored natural fabrics (or nothing at all when possible)
  • Keep your hair off your neck
  • Get a hair cut
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat when in the sun
  • Soak a bandana in cool water then place around your neck or head
  • Play in water
  • Plant deciduous tress around your house. The leaves will keep it cool in summer, while in winter the bare branches will allow the sun to warm your home.
  • Air-dry your dishes
  • Avoid using your oven
  • Keep your windows open to the cool air at night and close them during the heat of the day
  • Relax in the shade of a tree at a park
  • Hang out in your basement
  • Use ceiling fans. Please note that they don't actually cool the room, so please turn them off if no one is around to enjoy the breeze.

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