Keep your cool: Ten top earth-friendly tips to beat the heat
According to a recent report from NQAA's State of the Climate Report, across the world, extreme weather and prolonged heat waves are setting records. In Europe, the historical heat record – set in Athens 41 years ago – has been broken with parts of Spain and Portugal creeping above 48°C. While temperatures bordering the Gulf, Red Sea and the Arabian Sea have the fifth-highest recorded temperatures since records began.
Already one of the hottest places on Earth, Qatar has seen average temperatures rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre industrial times, the current international goal for limiting the damage of global warming
Understandably, this has driven a demand for cooling. In the new Al Janoub soccer stadium, in Qatar, each of the 40,000 mall grates adorned with Arabic-style patterns pushes out cool air at ankle level. And since cold air sinks, waves of it roll down to the playing field, where vents the size of soccer balls fed more cold air onto the ground.
This growing demand is part of a significant global emerging trend: the rising need for cooling comfort – and air conditioners. Cooling is now the fastest-growing use of energy in buildings, and ACs and electric fans already account for about 10% of all global electricity consumption. This is one of the most critical blind spots in the energy world today – by 2050, cooling demand could more than triple.
Fortunately, there are many solutions – many of which we can all take today. Here’s a list of ten things we can all do to help us keep our cool, efficiently:
1. Ventilate the room and use Fans if Necessary.
AC units use more energy than fans, Turn on that fan before the AC or let in a little air overnight if secure to do so, especially when cooler nights set in or when there is a pleasant breeze.
2. Shut your shades and close the blinds.
As much as 80% or more of the heat from the sun can be transmitted through your windows. Keeping the curtains drawn or the shades shut can make a big difference in how much of the sun’s heat comes indoors.
3. Monitor your thermostat.
Raising the temperature set point on your AC by 1°C can reduce its energy consumption by as much as 10%. The more work they do, the more energy they burn. So the next time you go to touch that dial, think about turning it up a notch.
4. Get a programmable or smart thermostat.
A smart thermostat can cut AC energy use by as much as 15% or more. By monitoring, predicting and adjusting cooling, you can cut back on energy use when and where it is needed. So keep cool and let your thermostat think for you.
5. Maintain your AC.
Make sure your AC passes a good bill of health. Proper maintenance can improve its performance and cut down on your energy bill by 5% to 15%.
6. Watch out for plug overload.
Electrical plug loads, ranging from large appliances to computers and hair-dryers, all generate heat when operating. Avoid heat build-up in your home by turning those devices off for the day and reduce your electricity consumption at the same time.
7. Take a second look at what you’re wearing.
Appropriate summer attire can let people stay comfortable at higher indoor temperatures. The next time you think about throwing on a sweater in summer, consider alternating the thermostat first
8. Part-time, part-space is part of the solution.
Research by the IEA Technology Collaboration Programme on Energy in Buildings and Communities found that household electricity use for cooling can be as much as ten times lower when ACs are only used as and where needed. This can be as simple as turning off the AC when you leave a room.
9. Keep an eye out for energy labels.
If you’re buying new electrical appliances or replacing an existing model, be sure to take a look at the energy label (or if you can’t find one, try looking for product information online). Be cool and look at the energy performance label to buy the most efficient choice.
10. Build it right.
The building envelope – the parts of a building that form the primary thermal barrier between interior and exterior – plays a crucial role in how much energy is required to heat and cool a building. Cool roofs, awnings and insulation can all help cut down on the need for mechanical cooling. Let in the light but keep out the heat with double-glazed, low-e windows. And don't forget to seal those cracks with proper air sealing. So when renovating or building, make sure to build it right and keep cool for years to come.
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