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Summer will be here before you know it. One way to be a better guardian of the Earth and to follow the Jewish imperative of bal tashchit (do not waste) is to take some simple steps to keep your home naturally cool in the summer months.

Here are a few ways to make that happen:

— Close your curtains: During the heat of the day, close your curtains or blinds. This blocks the sun’s rays so that less air conditioning will be needed to cool your home.
— Keep the oven off: As much as possible on hot days, use the microwave, toaster oven and/or the outdoor grill for cooking needs. Or, make cold soups and entrees when it is very warm out. This will keep your house cooler and could reduce your energy use by 50 percent during the hottest months of the year.

  • — Use ceiling fans: Ceiling fans use very little energy and help cool things down in the summer. Make sure to spin the fans counter clockwise to blow air down and create a breeze.
  • — Keep the whole house furnace fan running during the summer: This will help eliminate hot zones and reduce the amount of time that the air conditioner runs.
    — Service your cooling system every spring/summer: Be sure to have your air conditioning system checked by a professional service once each summer. Using a professional service will ensure that your A/C system is running efficiently and that all filters are clean or get replaced as needed. An efficient system will keep your cooling bills lower and result in less waste.
    –Plant trees to shade your house: This is part of a long-term plan to reduce the use of the air conditioner.

    Following these simple tips will help you get through the summer heat while keeping energy costs and your carbon footprint down

    Originally posted on jewishinstlouis.org at http://www.jewishinstlouis.org/blog_post.aspx?id=5452

    Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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