Tips For Staying Cool While Staying Green

eco_friendly_homeGoing green is all the rage these days, but how determined are you to save energy when temperatures start climbing? With these tips you can stay cool and still answer to your energy-saving conscience.

An Efficient AC Is a Green AC

First things first—make sure your air conditioning is pulling its weight. Nothing wastes energy (and money) like a poorly running air conditioner. Do this simple test to determine your AC’s efficiency:

Take a regular, household thermometer and hold it up to your air conditioner register (the vent where the cool air comes out) for a few minutes. Make sure the thermometer is done reading when you record the temperature.

Then, with the same thermometer, measure the AC’s return air by holding your thermometer at the return-air grill. Again, keep the thermometer next to the grill for a few minutes and make sure it is done reading before you record the temperature.

Compare the difference between the two temperatures you measured. AC experts say the difference between the discharge air and the return air should be about fourteen to twenty degrees (in Fahrenheit).

If the difference comes in below that, your AC is not working efficiently and wasting energy. If the difference is higher than twenty, you may have a blockage and once again, are probably wasting energy by running your AC. In either case, you’ll want to pull in a professional (like the guys at to fix the problem.

Other Green Ideas

Try giving your outdoor AC unit a little shade. It won’t have to work so hard to cool down your air if it isn’t left to the sweltering heat of the boiling sun. The unit needs to have complete air flow around it so you can’t put any kind of cover over it. But, you can put some kind of awning above it or plant a lovely shrub next to it at the right angle to block out the most intense rays of the afternoon.

While you’re at it, give your house a little shade as well. Many of the materials our houses are made of, (concrete, rock, brick, stucco, etc.), absorb heat. These materials transfer the heat to the interior of your home. They can also hold onto the heat well into the cooler evening hours—making it harder to cool your house down at night.

Simply planting a shady deciduous tree can prevent much of that heat from reaching your bricks. You may also want to consider a vine-covered trellis for your hottest exterior walls. They can add a nice decorative touch to your home while lowering your energy consumption. Covering the south-facing and west-facing walls of your home with a little shade (whether it be from plants or an awning) will give you the most bang for your buck.

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