Record temperatures have been recorded on the East Coast in recent days. In the Washington, D.C. area where I live, it is expected that this summer will see temperatures rivaling those in Death Valley! While it may be tempting to crank the A/C up to 11, a dramatic increase in the demand for extra power across the grid can result in brownouts or blackouts. These sharp increases can also be very environmentally damaging, as they also may lead to an increase in burning coal and/or fossil fuels. Luckily there are other ways to stay both cool and green when the temperature rises.

Unplug and Leave the House
Does your home feel more like an oven than a house? Why not get out and let someone else pay for electricity? Go to a nice cool coffee shop, mall, or movie theater. Before you head out, unplug as many of your electrical devices as you can. An easy way to do this is to plug as many electrical items into a surge protector as you can and simply turn it off. Not only will you save on electricity, less heat will be generated buy these devices and your house will feel cooler.

Take a Cold Shower
I know, I know. No one in their right mind likes cold showers. When it’s hotter than Hades outside however, a cold shower can be an easy way to cool off. In addition to staying cool, a cold shower can have surprising health benefits. Studies have found that cold showers can increase alertness, stimulate weight loss, and help curtail stress. You will also help the environment by not using your water heater, which is probably powered by either electricity or natural gas.

Avoid Using Appliances During Peak Hours
The definition of peak hours may vary by location, but the general understanding of the term is 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Does your dishwasher have a delay feature on it? Set it to run the cycle a few hours after you go to bed instead of running it immediately after dinner. Do you have clean clothes ready for tomorrow? Wait to do laundry until first thing in the morning instead of doing it after work. Not only will you save money, you’ll be doing Mother Earth a favor in the process.

Become a Master of the Flame
I love to BBQ and since it’s pretty much the only way I can contribute to family mealtime (I’m a disaster in the kitchen), I do it as often as I can. As it turns out, I’m actually helping the environment by cooking outside on a hot day. When you cook indoors during a heat wave, it raises the temperature of your house. This in turn, makes your air conditioner work harder and use more electricity. Sorry honey, we’ve got to BBQ to save the planet!

What are some of your tips and tricks for staying cool and environmentally friendly at the same time? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Source | Image: Public Domain Pictures