This summer has been a scorcher all over the country and extreme heat waves were felt from the Gulf Coast all the way to the Pacific Northwest. How do you stay cool while still being environmentally conscious and at the same time keeping your electricity costs low? We chat with Marisa Butler, environmental activist, financial advisor, and current title holder of the Miss Earth USA 2021 pageant. As someone who has dedicated her life and work to saving the planet, and also someone who lives in the very sunny state of California, Marisa was able to give us some really helpful advice on how to stay cool while going green at the same time.
“The first thing I would recommend,” says Marisa, “is to check that your house or apartment is running as efficiently as possible.” This means putting up blinds or curtains to block the hot rays of the sun, cleaning out the filter in your AC, and swapping out incandescent lights for cooler and energy efficient LED lights. And just like we do to keep the cold out during the winter months, it’s helpful to check your place for any drafts and sealing leaks to prevent the cool air from escaping.
Another obvious tip is to use fans to cool yourself and get air to circulate. Fans use less electricity than air conditioners and can help you dry off sweat which keeps your body cool. Marisa does warn that if you live in areas of extreme heat, like Arizona or Palm Springs, that using a fan will actually make your body hotter since it is blowing air with temperatures higher than your body temperature. Anything over 100 degrees and it’s actually counterproductive.
A really easy way to stay cool if you have access is to take a dip in the pool. The water helps to remove heat from our skin and feels instantly cool to the touch. Even a walk by a beach, lake or stream is helpful. “I am almost always found at the dog beach at least once a week with my rescue dog Milo,” says Marisa, “I also bring a trash bag to pick up litter along the way. It’s the little things that count.”
“The first thing I would recommend,” says Marisa, “is to check that your house or apartment is running as efficiently as possible.”
For those without access to a pool or water source, an alternative way to get relief from the heat is to access public spaces. “You can go to a coffee shop to work, or even hit up the local mall for some relief and to get steps in. Remember to bring your reusable water bottle to stay hydrated if you’re doing any activity though.” says Marisa. These public spaces are already air conditioned, and you can turn off yours while away. It’s one of the most effective and eco ways to stay cool.
And lastly, Marisa recommends using plants to help regulate temperatures around your house. Trees can offer shade that keep out the sunlight and house plants can also cool their surroundings by up to nine degrees. Through a process called transpiration, they act as natural air conditioners that absorb water and therefore heat. Plants can also be placed by windows to absorb and block sunlight from coming into your home. What a great reason to start the garden tower or living plant wall that you’ve been wanting to do.
Photo credit: Eva Flis