6 Sustainable Design Ways to Cool Your Home and Not Waste Energy

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Warm weather has finally arrived in the northeast and if you haven’t taken the time to think about the cost of staying cool and comfortable in your home this summer, then consider these valuable eco-friendly options to help reduce the waste of excessive energy, lower your electrical bill, and at the same time care for the environment.

For Your Home’s Exterior:

Exterior Landscaping. Starting from the exterior of your house, consider placing plants strategically. Knowing the best locations to place plants outdoors can lower the amount of energy used by controlling the temperature inside your home.

Plant deciduous trees on the west and south sides of your home. You can also save energy by planting shrubs that give your air conditioning unit some shade. Make certain that the plants will not clog your air conditioning unit in the autumn when their leaves drop.

Solar Windows or Film. If you think solar panels are unattractive, then consider solar windows to help cool your home without having reliance on the grid. Solar windows create electricity from the sunlight that shines throw them. You can use the electricity from them to power your home.

If purchasing solar windows for your home is not feasible, then consider clear solar film that can be applied to your existing windows. Both solar windows and solar film will let the light come in and keep the heat and sun damage out, without changing the appearance of an interior room or the exterior of your home.

For Your Home’s Interior:

Air Conditioning Filters. To guarantee the efficiency of your air conditioner, replace your filter routinely or clean its filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system’s efficiency significantly. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

Programmable Thermostats. To keep you home comfortable without wasting energy, invest in a programmable thermostat. While you are at work during the day, keep the temperature warmer. Program your thermostat to turn the air conditioning on an hour before you plan to arrive home to a desired cooler temperature, so you will not be running your air conditioning unit all day.

Window Treatments. Keep your blinds, shutters, or drapery closed to prevent the sun from entering the inside of your home. If you have blinds or shutters, for best results close them tightly with the opening facing up.

Ceiling Fans. Ceiling fans can help save money on your air conditioning bill, if you use them the way they were intended. Buy new ceiling fans that have the latest technologies in the motor, blade, and lighting. They are about 75% more efficient than previous models. Be sure the ceiling fan is Energy Star certified. Ceiling fans cool people, not the air. They make you feel cooler, so you can turn off your air condition or at least raise the temperature setting.

Most ceiling fans can shift between forward and reverse rotations by a simple flip of a switch located on the motor housing. If you are not sure which direction the fan should go, remember this: The leading edge of the fan blades should correlate with the outdoor temperature. Depending on which direction the fan is spinning, either the high edge or the low edge will be the leading edge. In the winter, when the temperature outside is low, the leading edge should be the one that sits lower. This will pull warm air up where it will move along the ceiling and move down the walls for an insulating effect. In the summer, when the temperature is high, the leading edge should be the higher edge, which blows a cool breeze. Always keep in mind, leaving a fan operating in a non-occupied room be ineffective and will only consume energy.

Be wise and stay cool this summer without wasting unnecessary energy, use eco-friendly methods to decrease your energy consumption and monthly utility expenses.

Lynn Hoffman

203.984.4695 | lynn@lynnhoffmandesign.com