With the weather hot outside, you may be tempted to just stay indoors, crank up the air conditioning and go about your normal household routines in your cool home. But keep in mind the Jewish principle of reducing waste and consider some of these simple steps you can take at no cost to stay cool without lowering the thermostat and using large amounts of energy.
Little things you can do to stay cool on a budget (and reduce energy in your home)
· Wear short sleeved, loose clothing of breathable cotton: this type of clothing will keep you naturally cooler inside or out on a summer day
· Drink lots of ice water or eat cold treats: cold foods lower your body’s core temperature. Wash and freeze seedless grapes for a cold, healthy snack.
· Wash and dry clothes when the day is cool: do laundry early in the day or late at night. This will keep your house cooler and cost less too. Consider an outdoor clothes hanger—let the sun dry your clothes at no energy cost
· Draw your shades to block the sun
· Use the microwave: conventional cooking makes your home hot. Microwaves cook the food directly and do not raise the temperature in the kitchen (so you don’t have to reset your air conditioning to a cooler setting)
· Leave on your furnace fan to keep the house feeling cooler
Small projects you can do if you are a bit more ambitious
· Install ceiling fans: these help circulate air and reduce heat in the summer. They also use very little energy. If you are purchasing a fan with lights, make sure the lights use CFL bulbs to save energy and heat as well
· Buy a dehumidifier: EnergyStar says a 40-pint unit will save up to $20 a year and last up to a decade. Moderating your home's humidity — in addition to making you feel cooler — will reduce musty smells and the growth of harmful molds.
Want to learn more about how you can Green your home for the summer or any time of year? Come to “Make a Difference: Environmental Action for your Home & House of Worship” a free program taking place from 7-9 PM on July 31 at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. Registration and more information is at www.tinyurl.com/July312014