As summer arrives, the bright sunshine and rising temperatures often spark a conflicting desire: the need to keep our homes cool while keeping energy consumption – and utility bills – in check. Keeping your home comfortable doesn’t need to come at the expense of high energy costs.
Embrace Natural Ventilation
Harness the cool temperatures during the early morning and late evening hours:
- Open windows and doors: This allows cooler air to circulate, reducing the need for artificial cooling. The cool air reduces the indoor temperature naturally, keeping your space comfortable.
- Use window fans: These devices draw cool air in from outside while expelling warm air from your home. Fans use less energy than other cooling methods, making this a cost-effective alternative.
Shield Your Home from the Sun
Minimising the direct sunlight that enters your house can decrease the amount of heat your home retains:
- Use window coverings: Blinds, curtains, or shutters block sunlight during peak hours. By doing so, they reduce the greenhouse effect in your house, thereby lowering the indoor temperature.
- Install solar screens or window films: These can intercept up to 70% of solar energy before it infiltrates the house, reducing the internal temperature and making the home feel cooler.
Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances
Energy-efficient appliances offer superior performance and can save energy:
- Opt for energy-saving lights: Incandescent bulbs generate substantial heat and use more energy. LEDs or compact fluorescent lights, on the other hand, emit less heat and are more energy-efficient.
Make the Best Use of Your Thermostat
If you use a thermostat with your heating system, intelligent use of it can lead to substantial energy savings:
- Programme your thermostat: By setting your thermostat to a lower temperature when you’re away or sleeping, you avoid wasting energy heating an empty home.
Smart Summer Cooking
Your cooking habits can greatly influence your home’s temperature:
- Avoid using the oven: Ovens can significantly heat up your kitchen, which raises the temperature in your home and increases the need for cooling.
- Experiment with no-cook meals: Preparing meals that require no cooking helps keep your kitchen cooler, reducing the need for extra cooling.
Plant Strategically for Shade
Lush greenery can provide natural cooling:
- Plant trees: Trees on the sunniest side of your property provide natural shading and cooling, reducing the heat that hits your home and therefore the amount of cooling required inside.
- Install outdoor awnings or canopies: These shield your home from the summer sun, reducing the heat that your home absorbs and therefore the need for additional cooling.
Optimise the Use of Fans
Fans consume less energy than air conditioners and can assist in circulating cool air:
- Use ceiling fans or desk fans: They circulate cool air around the room, making you feel more comfortable without reducing the actual temperature.
- Switch off fans when you leave the room: Fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect. Leaving them on in an empty room wastes energy.
Invest in Good Insulation
A well-insulated home can prevent warm air from entering and cool air from escaping:
- Insulate your home: Good insulation keeps your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter by reducing the exchange of heat between your home and the outside.
- Seal leaks: Leaks allow cool air to escape and hot air to enter, increasing the temperature of your house. By sealing them, you can make your home more energy-efficient.
Bonus Energy-Efficient Tips
Here are some additional tips to help you conserve energy this summer:
- Use appliances wisely: Appliances generate heat when they run. By using them during cooler times, you reduce the heat load during hot hours.
- Switch off unnecessary lights: Lights, particularly incandescent ones, generate heat. Keeping them off reduces the amount of heat in your home.
- Use a clothesline: Clothes dryers use a significant amount of energy. By taking advantage of the summer sun, you can save on your energy bill and reduce indoor heat.
By following these energy-saving strategies, you can maintain a comfortable home during the most sweltering part of the year without causing your energy consumption to spike. Here’s to a cool and cost-efficient British summer!