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Beat the heat by keeping your home cool and green

By Scott Meeks

When those sticky-steamy days of summer heat up, it's such a relief to crank up the AC and enjoy. But did you realize that half of all the energy that your home is sucking up right now is tied directly to cooling it down? That can be tough on the environment and your bank account. So here are a few crunchy ideas that will keep you cool and save you some money!

Run those fans

Yes, fans use electricity too. But running them properly can actually take some pressure off your air conditioning. For ceiling fans, make sure it's rotating in a counter clockwise motion. When your fan goes counter clockwise, it produces a breeze and allows all that cool air from your AC to circulate. Efficient use of ceiling fans could allow you to raise your thermostats four degrees.

Sunblock for your home

Pull those shades, draw the curtains and close the blinds! Don't let the sunlight heat your home, especially when you're not even there. This is perfect for those of you who spend most of your day at work or school. If you keep your shades pulled, then by the time you return home in the evening, the air will be nice and cool -- and you did it without putting extra pressure on your cooling system.

Give your appliances a break

Your stove and dryer put out a lot of heat. So use them in the early morning or evening hours when it's cooler. Better yet, make use of your outdoor grill. Or air-dry a few of your heavier items -- like jeans and blankets. No energy used. More money in your pocket!

Keep your cool

Never underestimate a cold glass of water, ice cream or one of those multi-colored ice pops we all have in our freezers this time of year. They really do help keep your body temperature down, which means you don't need to blast the AC.

Put your AC in vacation mode

When you leave for vacation, set your thermostat a few degrees higher. Simply, it's a waste of money and energy to air condition an empty house.

Scott Meeks is a passionate environmental journalist, lifestylist and author. You can learn more about him and his eco-ways at

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