Don’t panic: There’s still plenty of summer left, despite what the calendar says. And, for pretty much all of the U.S., the scorching temperatures aren’t settling anytime soon. So, it’s not too late to make some sustainable switches in your home to not only summer-proof it (hello, cooler living) but also to cut down on energy costs and have a more positive effect on our planet.
From choosing the right breathable fabric for your sheets to opting for a more energy-efficient air conditioner, read below for some Earth-friendly tips on how to make your home more comfortable during hot summer months.
Meet the Experts
Chris Sun is a textile expert and designer of My Sheets Rock.
Breegan Jane is an interior designer and Trane Residential brand partner.
Emily Che is the co-founder of Poly Furniture Supply, a sustainable furniture manufacturer.
Switch out your sheets
If you’re someone who sweats a lot while they sleep, switching out warm sheets for more breathable ones is a must, especially during hot summer nights. “When shopping for cooling sheets, you want to ensure your choice is both breathable and moisture-wicking,” explains Chris Sun. Sun shares that fabrics, such as polyester and nylon, are less breathable and temperature-regulating, so you may want to skip these. “Although these synthetics can be appealing for their low cost, it’s best to steer clear,” he adds.
Sun suggests opting for bamboo or linen sheets to help cool down your bed. “Bamboo offers the most benefits for hot sleepers as the material wicks moisture, reduces humidity, and stretches, all while staying extremely soft,” he says. “Linen is also well known for its breathability, natural cooling effect, and absorbency — it can absorb up to 20% of its weight in moisture, making it a popular all-season fabric choice for warmer climates and sleepers.” Linen and bamboo are also often more sustainable than other fabric options.
Choose a more energy-efficient air conditioner
Using an energy-efficient air conditioner can help work wonders for the planet and your electricity bill. Windmill’s popular voice and app-enabled air conditioner is a good option, which uses a refrigerant with less global warming potential than other commonly used ones. Even better? Windmill’s air conditioners are quiet, easy to use, and nice to look at. The company also helps offset the carbon footprint for every air conditioner of theirs that is purchased.
Remember to replace air conditioner filters
While we’re on the topic of HVAC systems, it may be hard to keep track of when the air conditioner filter needs to be replaced, but you must do so. “According to the Department of Energy, clogged filters are an added cost, and ensuring your home has a clean one can save up to $30 a month,” Jane explains. To help make the most of airflow and efficiency, plus help your system operate correctly, Jane advises replacing dirty air conditioner filters monthly, especially during the spring and summer months. “This easy swap will decrease energy use and improve air quality,” Jane adds. To help remember to do so, be sure to set a reminder on your calendar app.
Invest in a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat, such as this one by Trane Residential, is a planet-friendly choice that can help cut back on energy costs. “With a smart version, you can create cooling schedules for various parts of the day or put the comfort system into an energy savings mode while away, all from your phone,” explains Breegan Jane. “With the smart version, you can adjust your thermostat to a more moderate temp, so your A/C does not have to work as hard to maintain it,” Jane adds.
Close blinds and curtains during hot days
A simple way to help cool your space while saving electricity is closing the blinds and curtains on hot or sunny days. “Keep your space naturally cool by closing blinds and curtains to help regulate your room’s temperature when your air conditioner or fan is running,” Janes shares. If you want to take it one step further, you can also invest in heat and light-blocking curtains, such as these available on Amazon. They offer a quick fix and can help keep rooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Plus, they can help you sleep better at night by keeping the room as dark as possible.
Set up sun-blocking plants on your balcony
Fresh greenery outside and around the home not only looks pretty but can also help keep sunny spaces cool during the warmer months. “Plants can help you stay cool,” explains Emily Che. Because of this, Che suggests creating a “sun-blocking screen” made of leafy bamboo and placing it on your balcony if you live in a home that gets too hot in the summer. “This has the dual effect of cooling the balcony and rooms beyond by limiting direct sunlight while also acting as a privacy screen,” Che adds.
Buy breathable pillowcases
If you swap out your bed sheets and comforter for cooler summer options, don’t forget to switch out your pillowcases. Parachute Organic Air Cotton pillow shams are a great choice for people who want to not only sweat less while they sleep but also are looking for a sustainable option. Keeping sustainability at the forefront, these shams are made in an ethical work environment; they are Oeko-Tex Standard 100-certified, and made without harmful chemicals and dyes.
Get solar-powered backyard lights
Make your backyard oasis an eco-friendly escape by switching traditional string lights and lanterns with solar-powered ones, such as these. These dimmable patio string lights use solar panel energy to help keep them shining bright night after night.
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