Beat The Heat: How To Keep Cool While Lowering Energy Costs

This summer, we are all like polar bears on a tiny ice float wondering how to survive Climate Change. Around the world, beaches, that had once been havens for city dwellers, are now experiencing dangerous heat waves. It could be even worse in the years ahead so we took a cool dive into some tips for renters and owners to keep cool and lessen their carbon footprint  

Close Your Windows

Whether you have central air or window units, keep all windows, shades, and curtains closed during the day to prevent heat from entering your home. We tend to think of black-out shades as a way to darken a room. They are also a way to cool it down and save up to 15% on electric bills. 

Choose from blackout roller shades or invest in solar screen shades. Solar screen shares are roller shades made with material that filters the sun’s UV rays while not blocking the view. They also reduce your energy bills by blocking heat gain in summer and reducing heat loss in winter. Solar shades come in various weaves. The tighter the weave, the less sunlight enters, but the more the view is blocked. So you may want to choose a tighter weave, say, the baby’s room or in any room where the view is not a priority.

Hate window shades and blinds? Take a tip from the Victorians block out light with adjustable louvered wooden shutters which add a decorative look whether antique or new.


Just because you have AC, doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from adding ceiling fans to your bedroom, kitchen, or living room. They save energy by allowing you to reduce your use of air conditioning. The windchill effect makes you feel a few degrees colder, so if you have the fan on, you can turn your thermostat up by four degrees, and feel just as comfortable. The gentle breeze of a ceiling fan in your bedroom will improve your sleep even on the hottest nights.

If you are a renter and do not want to install a ceiling fan, consider high-powered portable fans like the Vornado. The 2023 New York Times Wirecutter picked Vorando’s Transom Window Air Circulator as the best window fan. It can create a cross breeze at night if you turn it on the exhaust and open another window.  If you want a portable fan, the quiet Vornado Small Air Circulator with Energy Smart Technology can easily be moved from room to room. This is a lifesaver if your apartment does not have a high-quality ventilator in the kitchen to minimize cooking smells and heat.

Turn off heat-generating devices

During the hottest parts of the day, avoid using ovens, stoves, dryers, and incandescent light bulbs. Do laundry and use your dishwasher at night as they are appliances that generate heat when running. When outdoor temperatures cool in the evening, consider turning off your AC and using fans instead. When the AC is on, keep it at 75-78 degrees to prevent your utility bills from skyrocketing.

Consider Insulation

Homeowners, keep your home well-insulated to prevent heat from seeping in. Insulate your roof, walls, and windows to maintain a cooler indoor temperature. Weatherstripping doors and windows can also help seal gaps and minimize heat transfer.

Get a Street Tree

Tree canopies in cities have many benefits. They provide shade that has a cooling effect on your home which can result in less energy usage. An article by Treesforcities.org notes that trees properly planted around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30%. In Philadelphia, homeowners can get a free street tree by requesting one through Parks and Recreation’s TreePhilly program or through the PHS TreeTenders program. Additionally, If you live in zip codes 19125 or 19134, you may be able to get one faster through Philly Tree People.

TreeTenders planting a new tree in Philadelphia. Image: PHS

Color Me Cool

Paint color helps to cool a home by reflecting heat. Pale greens, grays and blues are a good option. The coolest color is white, which reflects light and heat by 100 percent. Pale yellow, like light grey, reflects 90 to 95 percent of available light and heat.

Sustainable Cooling Technologies

A recent article in Fast Company states that air conditioners make cities hotter as they pump out heat from your home. The huge demand on the grid during these days of extreme heat can lead to blackouts but new solutions are in the works! 

A startup called Transaera, in partnership with Carrier, is developing energy-efficient air conditioners that shrink energy usage by as much as 50% by sponging up moisture from the air. Another startup, Blue Frontier, backed by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, is also using humidity as a way to shrink energy use by as much as 90%. They plan to bring their product to market in 2025.

An Israeli startup, Nostromo,  installed their newest technology, Ice Brick, at The Beverly Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills hotels in Los Angeles. The system uses electricity to freeze water into ice during the day when there is abundant renewable energy available on the grid, then uses its ice to provide chilled water for cooling in large buildings which can nearly eliminate its carbon footprint.

Do you have a flailing HVAC unit? If you’re looking for a more sustainable option for your home right now, consider ductless minisplits, a more environmentally friendly option than a traditional HVAC system. Starting this year, you may also be able to get a tax credit on your new system through the Federal Inflation Reduction Act.

Other Tips for Keeping Cool in A Heatwave

  • Drink more water than usual
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing (nothing tight containing Lycra)
  • Eat plenty of salads and fruits
  • Take cool showers
  • Pay attention to air-quality advisories, especially for children and the elderly.
  • Avoid being outdoors when it is over 85 degrees if possible.
  • Wear a sun hat or carry a sun umbrella. 
  • Keep pets indoors and hydrated.

Whether you are a renter or an owner, try taking a step toward reducing your own energy usage during this time of extreme heat. And stay safe!

* indicates required
I'm interested in receiving information about
We’re committed to your privacy. Solo uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For more information, check out our privacy policy.