Chill out: Bonus AC-free ways to beat the heat

July 17, 2012

Another day another sizzler. As we melt into little pools of sweat at our own feet, I can’t help but think of those old 80s ads, you know, with the frying pan and the egg and the “this is your brain on drugs” message. This, honey, is your planet on climate change. While farms go thirsty thanks to record drought in the US and parts of Canada (the driest summer since 1956 in the US and the worst in a decade in eastern Canada), people are cranking their ACs like mad. What do you do if you don’t have one or are trying not to use yours to keep your energy-use down? Why you read my last Ecoholic column and get a few tips! But there are a few more I didn’t get into.

  • Chill out: stress will only get you sweating. Try a little meditation or tai chi in the shade to calm your mind and body.
  • Eat raw food to avoid turning on your stove or oven. Just boiling water in my kitchen was enough to turn it into a steam room. For raw-licious ideas, I like Doug NcNish’s Eat Raw, Eat Well.
  • Go for an evening dip at your neighbourhood public pool! Funnest way to cool down, for sure.
  • If you’re a homeowner….Get light-coloured Energy Star shingles (a great tip that came in from a reader named Mary). She had them installed and said: “We really notice the difference in heat in our home over the previous black shingles.”
  • Having awnings installed over windows is another great option for keeping the heat off your house.
  • Plant deciduous trees! On the south, east or west side will do. Okay so they’ll take a few years to get to work on cooling your home BUT trees can cut cooling costs by a good 30 per cent once they’re grown! When the leaves drop in winter they let warming light in. But, ugh, let’s forget about winter for now. Unless visualizing snowmen helps your mind keep calm. 😉