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10 Design Tips To Use Less Air Conditioning

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By Lloyd Alter, TreeHugger

Elizabeth Taylor knew how to keep cool without air conditioning in A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: She swanned about in her underwear. Not all of us can do that, nor do we look as good in it as Elizabeth Taylor, as this ad for air conditioners from Argentina notes:

But there are other things that we can do. Most of these tips are for people in houses, rather than apartments; we will address urban solutions in a subsequent post. Here are a few suggestions.

1. Install Awnings

A hundred years ago, awnings were common on hotels, office buildings, and the grandest of houses, for a very good reason: they shaded the window and kept the heat of the sun out. They fell out of favour when the preferred method of dealing with too much solar energy became the application of electrical energy through air conditioning. They were also a high-maintenance item; it probably took quite a few workers to put them up every spring on some of the bigger installations.

According to the Washington Post, The Department of Energy estimates that awnings can reduce solar heat gain—the amount temperature rises because of sunshine—by as much as 65 percent on windows with southern exposures and 77 percent on those with western exposures. Your furniture will last longer, too.

According to the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association, a totally unbiased source, window awnings can reduce household cooling energy by as much as 26 percent in hot climates, and 33 percent in cold climates.

Next: get help from nature

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Read more: Conservation, Crafts & Design, Eco-friendly tips, Green, Green Home Decor, Home, Household Hints, , , , , ,

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10:20PM PDT on Jul 9, 2013


4:53AM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

Air conditioning is rare in Poland anyway. It may be used in some companies, but hardly anyone has it at home.

3:08AM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

thankyou very much. will definitely be using most of these when I buy my house

2:02PM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

For new construction I would suggest using passive design, thermocycle walls and a solar chimney to exhaust internal heat. An earth-sheltered home is also a good option, with that type of construction also providing protection from fires, tornadoes and other types of disasters.

1:27PM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Thank you

12:48PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

very awesme; thanks! : D

6:50AM PDT on Jul 23, 2012


12:06AM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

Really good ideas.

10:08PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Great ideas. It's ironic that in our sophisticated age we are turning back to old remedies, natural foods and simple eco friendly products.

12:50PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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