Stay Cool: Air Conditioning Without the Financial and Environmental Concerns
If you can live without air conditioning, summer offers an opportunity to cut your gas bill and reduce your carbon footprint. In some parts of the U.S., however, a summer without air conditioning is unthinkable. But is it possible to keep your air conditioning and your green credentials?
Eco-friendly Air Conditioning?
The answer is yes, you can. Like most appliances, air conditioning and HVAC units are becoming increasingly energy efficient to meet consumer demand for appliances that won't cost the earth--literally! Unfortunately, to benefit from these new technologies, you need to replace your old HVAC or air conditioning unit. If you can't afford to do that, you can reduce the amount of energy it uses in summer by implementing the following:
- Install ceiling fans to evenly distribute the cool air in the room.
- Close your shutters and drapes to keep excess heat and sunlight out of your home. You could even plant trees or bushes to shade the sunny side of your home.
- Have your HVAC system serviced annually and replace or clean filters regularly.
- Turn your thermostat down a little--you only need to be comfortable, not cold.
- Keep doors and windows closed.
- Use the recirculation or fan only option to move the cool air around your home, especially if the temperature drops at night.
If you are planning to install a new HVAC or air conditioning system, you should:
- Choose one that carries the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star label.
- Make sure you get the right size for your home and lifestyle.
- Use a reputable supplier and installation contractor to ensure a proper fit.
Follow the energy-reducing tips above. And then, as temperatures rise, we can turn on our air conditioning without worrying too much about the financial and environmental cost.
Karin has worked as a freelancer for over ten years, writing informatively about a wide range of subjects. She has a PhD and a background in education and research.