Keep Cool Without The A/C

Keep Cool Without The A/C

5 May, 2017
6 Great Ways To Keep Cool This Summer!
Staying Eco-Friendly Without Losing Your Cool
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We’re just as guilty as the next guy. As soon as the sweltering heat of a subtropical summer rolls around, we turn our air conditioners on in an effort to stay cool. But how ironic (and totally eco-unfriendly) is it that we often find ourselves bringing along a jacket in the hot summer in order to ward off the chilly air indoors? This summer, we offer a challenge: to be more eco-friendly and maybe even switch the air-conditioners off (seriously!)... Without sacrificing your cool.

Don’t get us wrong; air-conditioners are a fantastic invention. Each summer, stories are published about people fainting from heat strokes and hyperthermia, so air conditioning can even literally be a lifesaver. The problem, however, is that air-conditioners are overused without regard to their notoriously harmful effects to the environment.

Air-conditioners are harmful because they are traditionally made with either chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC), which have ozone-depleting effects. In 1996 the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental agreement, banned the production and sale of all CFCs across developed countries. Although HCFCs are less damaging to the environment (95% less destructive than CFCs), they too are on thair way to becoming totally phased out and banned from usage due to the ozone-depleting substances they contain.

Regardless of the HCFCs' damaging effects, they are still being manufactured and used in developing countries where the demand for cheap cooling units are high. In Hong Kong, HCFCs are still widely used - the annual import quota is set to be reduced to 25% of the baseline level of 1989 by 2014, based on the Montreal Protocol.

If you can’t say goodbye to your air-conditioner (and we can hardly blame you), consider buying a unit that is made with ozone-safe cooling agents. These cost more than HCFCs - and aren't a perfect solution as they still use fossil fuels to power them - but they are more environmentally friendly.

But what if a fancy new unit isn't in the budget? Then our savvy readers can follow these simple tips to minimize AC usage and still stay cool – without going broke.

First: Try to limit the temperature setting and the amount of time you have the AC turned on. Most experts recommend leaving your air conditioner’s temperature setting to 25°C, which is comfortably cool but not freezing cold. Many people follow the myth that colder is better and lower the temperature to 18°C and end up needing to wear more clothes to compensate for the temperature drop.

Second: Turn the AC off whenever you’re not using it. Better yet – try turning your unit off about 10-15 minutes before you leave the room. You’ll still be enjoying the cool air before it warms up, by which time you’ll just be on your way out. The same principle applies to your sleeping habits – turn the AC off just as you’re climbing into bed, so you can enjoy some cold air while drifting off to dreamland. Your body temperature naturally falls when you’re asleep, so you don’t need as much AC power. Still feeling stuffy at night? Consider opening a window to let the cool night air in.

Third: Draw the curtains during the day to keep the sunlight out and stop it from heating up your home. You can also buy light-reflecting film to apply on windows to keep the rays out.

Fourth: Wear lightweight breathable fabric, like cotton and bamboo, that won’t make you sweaty, like polyester will do. Loose-fitting clothes help as they keep you cooler, unlike tight-fitting clothes which only make you feel stuffy. And while we're on the topic of clothes - you don't really need any when you're in dreamland. Try it!

Fifth: Take a cool shower, or keep an icy cool damp cloth in your fridge to use on your face and neck periodically. The cold water will not only lower your temperature, but as it evaporates, it will also draw the heat away from your body, performing the same function that sweat naturally does (but less yucky and with instant effects).

Sixth: Leave the stove alone when preparing food. There’s no point in keeping the heat out if you're heating your home from the inside! Instead of cooking hot food during the day, try making meals that don’t require the stove or the oven, like salads or sandwiches. And avoid eating spicy food during the hottest weather – spicy Sichuan dishes are only going to heat you up more.

By: Ecozine Staff
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