Energy-Smart Living: How to Beat the Summer Heat and Save Money
With summer well underway, it’s no secret that many are trying to develop ways to keep cool whilst remaining budget-friendly and as sustainable as possible. Implementing energy-smart living in all aspects of your home, both indoors and out, can reduce your costs whilst helping you feel fresh in the heat.
Indoor Cooling Strategies:
Trying to keep the heat out can be a tough task, but with the right budget you can adopt some strategies that’ll help your house be as comfortable as possible:
Apply Window Coverings: Using window coverings such as blinds, curtains, or shades can have a remarkable impact on reducing heat gain within your home. By blocking out sunlight, these coverings create a shield against the sun’s rays, preventing heat from infiltrating your living spaces.
Boost Natural Ventilation: The power of natural airflow is a simple yet effective method to naturally cool your home. Opening windows to facilitate cross-ventilation enables the circulation of fresh air, effectively lowering the temperature in your living areas without relying on artificial cooling methods. By embracing this approach, you can reduce your dependence on energy-intensive air conditioning systems, resulting in tangible savings on your utility bills.
Plant your shade: By strategically planting trees around your property, you can provide a natural shade source which offers protection from the summer heat. Opt for deciduous trees, as they shed their leaves in the winter, allowing sunlight to warm your home during the colder months while providing shade during the summer.
Creating a Cost-Effective Garden:
Transforming your outdoor space into some green grounds not only improves your summer experience but also contributes to energy-smart living. Consider the following tips for creating a cool and cost-effective garden:
Sustainable Decking Materials: If you’re considering adding a deck or patio to your garden, go for sustainable decking materials. Traditional hardwood decking often comes from unsustainable sources and contributes to deforestation. Instead, choose alternative materials such as composite decking made from recycled plastic and wood fibres, or sustainably sourced timber certified by organisations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Pump out the Heat: Heat pumps operate by transferring heat from one area to another, making them highly energy efficient. During hot summer months, heat pumps can extract heat from the indoor air and release it outside, meaning you can maintain a comfy temperature all season round. In colder seasons, they can reverse the process, extracting heat from the outdoor air and bringing it indoors for heating.
Solar Panels for Clean Energy: Incorporate solar panels into your garden to harness clean and renewable energy. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, which can power various elements in your garden such as outdoor lighting, water features, or even charging stations for electric garden tools.
Maintaining a healthy garden during the hot summer months whilst being mindful of water usage can be easy if you are strategic with your water consumption:
Drip Irrigation Systems: Install drip irrigation systems in your garden to deliver water directly to the plant’s root zone. Unlike traditional sprinkler systems that waste water through evaporation, drip irrigation ensures targeted watering and reduces water loss. This method helps plants absorb water more effectively while reducing overall water usage.
Mulching for Moisture Retention: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or compost, around plants to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch acts as a protective barrier, reducing evaporation and regulating soil temperature. By mulching your garden beds, you can reduce water loss and extend the time between watering sessions.
Select Drought-Resistant Plants: Use drought-resistant plants that can thrive in hot and dry conditions with minimal water requirements. Native plant species are often well-adapted to the local climate and have higher drought tolerance. Incorporate succulents, ornamental grasses, and Mediterranean herbs into your garden, as they can withstand periods of water scarcity.
Outdoor lighting hacks:
Outdoor lighting is a great way to add to the aesthetic appeal of your garden and it can contribute to energy savings and reduced environmental impact:
Solar-Powered Lights: This lighting can be widespread across your garden, depending on where you’d like the most visibility. These lights incorporate photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight into electrical energy, which is then stored in a battery, ready to light your way.
LED Bulbs: These bulbs exhibit remarkable energy efficiency and consume considerably less electricity compared to traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs. They hold a longer lifespan, reducing the frequency of replacements required.
Motion Sensor Lighting: Equipped with motion-detecting sensors, motion sensor lights automatically activate when someone enters the designated area and switch off after a predetermined period of inactivity. This advanced technology ensures that the lights are active only when necessary, resulting in reduced energy consumption and enhanced security. Motion sensors are particularly advantageous for pathways, entrances, and outdoor spaces where intermittent illumination is required.
Budget-Friendly DIY Projects: Enhancing Outdoor Comfort with Cost-Effective Solutions
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly home renovation project this summer, that encompasses both eco-friendliness and heat-beating, these ideas might give you some inspiration:
Building a Misting System: This project involves creating a fine mist using water and a high-pressure system, which can help lower sticky temperatures. With basic supplies such as PVC pipes, misting nozzles, and a water source, you can construct a simple and affordable system that provides a refreshing cooling effect during hot summer days.
A Homemade Outdoor Cooling Station: This can be done by repurposing an old fan by attaching a misting kit to it or building a portable shade structure with a built-in misting system. By combining cooling elements like misting and shade, you can create a comfy hangout for relaxation or entertaining without spending a fortune.
- Indoors: Use window coverings and natural ventilation to reduce reliance on air conditioning.
- Outdoors: Create a cost-effective garden with sustainable decking, heat pumps, and solar panels.
- Water-wise gardening: Implement drip irrigation and choose drought-resistant plants.
- Energy-efficient lighting: Go for solar-powered lights and LED bulbs.
- Budget-friendly DIY projects: Build misting systems and repurpose materials for shade.