While spending a lot of money securing a home’s building envelope is a very effective way to use less energy, we also need to be cognizant of our energy usage. One effective way to cut costs is to find inexpensive ways to keep your home cool in the summer to minimize HVAC usage.
A common features in older homes, the sleeping porch is a screened-in or louvered porch which shades one side of the home. Using louvered windows encourages air flow which works with the shade to further reduce temperatures.
Trees and creepers are a great way to shade windows naturally in the summer. In the fall, these plants will lose their leaves and let the sunshine back in when you need it to heat the home. If you don’t have the space for plants, you can consider using an awning over your windows instead. Shutters can also work or blinds and curtains which you can close in the summer. Blinds and curtains do block out most of the light, so awnings are a better option.
These operate at a fraction of the cost of AC units and work to keep you cool by circulating air. Installing these can also help to circulate warm air in the winter if you reverse the airflow. Just remember to turn the fan off when you leave the room. It’s the circulating air that cools you, but if you are not in the room you are using unnecessary electricity.
Color your roof cool
The color of your roof does have an impact on the interior temperature. Dark colors will absorb heat while lighter colors will reflect heat in the warm summer months. The color of your roofing can affect attic temperatures as much as 20 to 40 degrees F. Using lighter colored roofing can reduce energy consumption by 20%.
A study by the United States Department of Agriculture found that wood roofing panels under black shingles were ten to fifteen degrees warmer than the same panels under white shingles on a sunny day.
Also known as swamp coolers, these devices cool homes through the evaporation of water. To this end, they are best suited to hot, dry climates as they can increase humidity levels. The evaporative cooler works by using a fan to blow air over a wet pad, thus allowing the water to evaporate. These coolers use about a third of the energy a conventional air conditioner uses.
Cooling your home by these more traditional methods can really help to reduce your energy usage and keep your AC in good working order for longer.