Green Living

Cool Your Home Naturally

16 ways to use your air conditioner less (or not at all).
Cool Your Home Naturally
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Landscape around the house

Grow climbing vines. Deciduous vines such as Boston ivy or grapevines can cut cooling needs by a fourth. Plant them on the sunny sides of your house, says Ackerly. Grow vines on a trellis so they don’t block cooling air from moving around the house or cause moisture problems, Scheckel says.

Shade with shrubs. Fast–growing hedges and bushes can help shade patios and driveways, reducing the amount of heat that radiates through these surfaces. Greenery creates a cool microclimate that can reduce the temperature in your home by as much as 20 degrees, according to the DOE.

Plant trees in the yard. Shade the roof by planting tall spreading deciduous trees (ones that grow 25 feet or higher) to the south of your home. Plant shorter trees (6 to 8 feet) to the west, where the sun hits at a lower angle on summer afternoons. The USDA reports that one shade tree can equal the cooling effect of five air conditioners.