Recently I listened to a podcast
from an Air Conditioning expert, which I didn't even know existed . It got my brain going about how to stay cool without using an air conditioner.
I have been trying some of his tips, plus some of my own ideas, and thought I'd share them here.
The results have been very successful, and at my house we now run our air conditioner for only brief periods of time throughout the day while the other tenants in our unit blast theirs almost nonstop.
The most interesting thing I discovered is just how arbitrary the standard 72 degrees F is. I am convinced that this temperature is based on wearing a business suit, which people almost never wear in their own homes in the summer. The truth is that there is no ideal temperature.
These ways to stay cool fit into three categories: Lowering the temperature of your house, lowering your body temperature, and changing your perception so that the heat doesn't bother you so much. Not all of these steps are practical for everyone, but if you can find one or two that you can turn into habit, it can make a difference in comfort and/or in energy consumption.
In addition, I have listed some bonus "green" benefits on each step where they apply.