This summer’s sweltering heat wave has brought record-breaking temperatures and a whole lot of discomfort. Admittedly, I spent the first part of the summer wallowing in (a sweaty heap of) self-pity due to the fact my apartment lacks central AC. Oh, the joys of humble, LA living. But a simple IG post by PD’s very own editor-in-chief Juhea gave me hope for surviving the scorching summer months—*and* insight into just how harmful air conditioners can actually be.
Air conditioners can be energy sponges (past electricity bills can certainly attest to that), but air conditioners also contribute to global warming by producing HCFCs (or hydrochlorofluorocarbons), which emit greenhouse gases.
Last year, the EPA announced they would phase out production of ozone-depleting HCFCs by 2030 (hopefully the EPA survives that long). Until then, there are many ways you can help minimize your AC usage and reduce the strain they have on the environment.
For starters, try making these delicious no-bake Vegan Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches for a quick cool down!
Or cool down with an ice cold beverage. Jamaican Hibiscus Iced Tea anyone?
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to opt out of using air conditioners altogether. In some cases, running your air conditioner is thoroughly unavoidable (like when you leave your AC on for your fur-babies while you’re away at work). But there are simple things you can do to help reduce the amount of time your AC is turned on. So, jump in an ice cold shower, pull out your old school fan, and try these five tips for cooler living sans AC.
1. Stay hydrated
Okay, this tip is super obvious but one well worth repeating. One of the best ways to keep your body temperature down is by drinking cool liquids. You can also stay hydrated by eating your water via ultra hydrating foods like cucumbers, tomatoes, and watermelon.
2. Cut the lights
The vast majority of light bulbs give off more heat than light. Ditch the incandescent light bulbs (90% of the energy they use produces heat!) and opt for low-watt, energy-efficient light bulbs. You can also cut the lights altogether and enjoy natural lighting when you can—you’d be surprised at how cool your room can get!
3. Draw your curtains
In addition to reducing the amount of lights you have on, you can also invest in blackout curtains to help regulate room temperatures. Heat blocking curtains or shades can help reduce the amount of heat entering your home by up to 24 percent! Room cooling curtains are also relatively inexpensive, or you can make your own by purchasing blackout fabric! If you simply can’t afford specialty curtains, make sure you close your blinds to help block out the heat.
4. Opt for better sheets
Take Juhea’s word of advice and ditch your tightly-woven, synthetic sheets as they limit breathability, and opt for lightweight, natural fibers like organic cotton and Tencel. For those who live for high thread count sheets, keep in mind low to medium thread count sheets don’t trap in heat and allow air to pass through them. Also, stick with light-colored sheets as they reflect heat rather than absorbing it like darker fabrics. And if you’re feeling extra fancy, you can always splurge on a cooling pillow for those extra sweaty nights.
5. Dress for comfort
Just like your selection of sheets, your choice of clothing can greatly affect your body temperature. Opt for light-colored clothes in the summer to stay cool and pick fabrics made with natural, breathable materials to help wick sweat away from your skin. You can also pick skirts or dresses in lieu of pants and open-toe shoes or sandals for better air circulation. And ladies, say no to boob sweat and ditch the padded bras!
How do you stay cool when it’s super hot?
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Photos: Pexels, @PeacefulDumpling via Instagram, Colette Goguen, Lauren Sacerdote