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Environmentally friendly ways to stay cool this summer

As climate change brings a hotter summer season, an automatic response is to crank up the electricity. The reality is that using more electricity perpetuates global warming. Power plants pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, prolonging the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the climate change that results. Here are some environmentally friendly ways to keep cool this summer.

Decorate with plants

Household plants can naturally decrease indoor temperatures. Plants lose water during transpiration, which cools the air around them. Plants also remove harmful toxins from the air. The Boston Fern, which is considered to be one of the most effective air purifiers among houseplants, is known for cooling the home. Another option is the Areca Palm, which also has a cooling effect.

Hang blackout curtains

Window treatments offer an eco-friendly way of cooling down the house. Blackout curtains reduce energy costs by blocking light and heat from coming in through the windows. Blackout curtains are so effective at blocking light that the British relied on them during World War II to avoid detection by bomber pilots. Blackout curtains block up to 99 percent of light, and some brands claim to block 40 percent of noise as well.

Stay hydrated

A simple way to stay cool is to keep hydrated. Hydration lowers the body’s core temperature by allowing perspiration. Water may be the best way to hydrate, but it is not the only way. There are delicious foods that are made up of over 90 percent water including strawberries, cucumbers, and watermelon. Skim milk, soup, and yogurt are also hydrating foods that are easy to enjoy.  

Paint your roof white

White-washing is an ancient method of cooling the home that is making a comeback. A roof painted with a white coating reflects up to 70 percent more sunlight than traditional dark roofs. A white roof can reflect up to 90 percent of solar heat, which noticeably cools the air temperature. This is a simple process that involves a single coat of high-quality, waterproof exterior paint.

Buy a dehumidifier

While humidity does not actually raise the temperature, it changes the human perception of how hot or cold it is. Humidity means extra moisture is in the air that prevents sweat from evaporating, leaving the body hot and uncomfortable. Dehumidifiers take extra moisture out of the air and make the indoor temperature more comfortable. Dehumidifiers also prevent the dangerous mold and mildew that form in high-humidity environments.

In the future, resources such as wind and solar energy will generate more clean power. For now, the electricity generated by these renewable resources is not completely reliable, and must be backed up by CO2-emitting power plants. Simple alternatives can make a huge difference in lessening harmful effects on the atmosphere.

Original Feature By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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