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Natural House Cooling Tips

Natural House Cooling Tips

You can slash your energy bills and reduce your use of an air conditioner by implementing “natural conditioning” or “passive cooling” in your home. Besides saving money the goal is also to reduce our impact on the environment. (If you haven’t seen Al Gore’s global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, we recommend it!)

All homes contain sources of heat within their building called internal heat gain, and they combine to heat up your house. Common sources include appliances, electronic devices, and lights. Even small transformers for answering machines produce a small amount of waste heat. While much is written for cooling a home by tapping into natural forces such as cool breezes, shade, and cool nighttime air, paying attention to internal heat gain often is glossed over. But it is important!

Dramatically reduce your internal heat gain in your home using these 11 tips:

Home designers group passive cooling measures in four general categories: (1) reducing internal heat gain, (2) reducing external heat gain, (3) purging built-up heat, and (4) cooling people directly.

Here’s a look at (1).

Reducing Internal Heat Gain

The most significant sources of heat include conventional stoves and ovens, clothes dryers, dishwashers, water heaters, conventional incandescent lights, aquarium lights and heaters, television sets, and computers. In the summer internal heat sources become a liability.

Using the following chart’s blueprint, make a list of all the appliances, electronic devices, and lights in your home. Problem solve about how to use each one less. As you work through the list, you will find that most heat-reducing solutions are fairly easy and inexpensive.

Here is a list of internal heat gain with cheap and more costly solutions.

Heat Source: Incandescent lights
Contribution to Internal Heat Gain: Major
Cheap Option: Use lights more sparingly. Turn lights off when not in use.
More Costly Option: Replace with compact fluorescents. Install occupancy sensors.

Heat Source: Water heater
Contribution to Internal Heat Gain: Major
Cheap Option: Turn temperature down to 120F. Install insulation: water heater blanket. Insulate hot water pipes.
More Costly Option: Replace old models with on-demand (tankless) water heaters.

Heat Source: Stove and oven
Contribution to Internal Heat Gain: Major
Cheap Option: Eat more cold meals during the summer. Cook outside as much as possible. Use the microwave more during the summer. Bake at night.
More Costly Option: Replace old, worn-out gas stoves (with pilot lights) with models that have electronic ignition switches.

Heat Source: Clothes washer
Contribution to Internal Heat Gain: Minor
Cheap Option: Use the cold or warm water settings. Wash clothes at night.
More Costly Option: Replace with a more energy-efficient model.

Heat Source: Computer
Contribution to Internal Heat Gain: Minor
Cheap Option: Turn the computer off when not in use.
More Costly Option: Replace old, outdated computers with energy-efficient models.

Heat Source: Clothes dryer
Contribution to Internal Heat Gain: Major
Cheap Option: Hang clothes on outside line. Dry larger loads. Close off utility room to rest of the house. Open window to utility room when clothes dryer is in use.
More Costly Option: Replace with a more energy-efficient model.

Heat Source: Television
Contribution to Internal Heat Gain: Minor
Cheap Option: Watch TV more sparingly. Unplug TV when not in use. Plug TV into power strip and turn off when not in use.
More Costly Option: Purchase the most energy-efficient model possible, when buying a replacement TV set.

Heat Source: Furnace (pilot light)
Contribution to Internal Heat Gain: Minor
Cheap Option: Turn off pilot during the cooling season; reignite during the heating season.
More Costly Option: When replacing furnace, purchase an efficient model that does not have a pilot light.

Heat Source: Shower
Contribution to Internal Heat Gain: Major
Cheap Option: Turn water heater temperature down. Take shorter showers. Open windows when showering. Run exhaust fan when showering. Replace showerhead with a more efficient model.

Heat Source: Dishwasher
Contribution to Internal Heat Gain: Major
Cheap Option: Hand-wash dishes. If it is not already off, switch off the drying option.

Note: Read care2’s famous article 23 Tips for Keeping the House Cool

Read more: Home, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , ,

Adapted from The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy, by Dan Chiras (New Society Publishers, 2006). Copyright (c) 2006 by Dan Chiras. Reprinted by permission of New Society Publishers.
Adapted from The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy, by Dan Chiras (New Society Publishers, 2006).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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28 comments

+ add your own
6:21PM PST on Nov 25, 2012

Good tips :)

5:56AM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

thanks for sharing

10:37PM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

Thanks for the tips.

1:53AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

What I want to know is why you didnt think to include the other side of this issue ? There are so many things that youre missing here that I dont see how you could actually form an intelligent opinion on the subject. Its like you didnt even consider that there me be another side here.
click here

9:27PM PDT on Sep 10, 2011

TY Annie. I was aware of all of these except probably the most important. {At least to me}. I rarely turn off the computer because it takes too long to go through all the scans and boot up every day. I CERTAINLY WILL NOW.

6:00AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

ty

5:59AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

ty

8:27PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

Great article! Very informative. Thanks.

11:17AM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

Good tips! Thanks Annie.

5:00PM PDT on Jun 25, 2011

Appreciate all the articles on cooling off in the summer and saving heat in the winter. At the price of utilities now , every little bit helps ! I really enjoy your articles !

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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