Air Conditioners are some of the biggest power consuming appliances most houses have. They have motors that use 1500 watts or more and are run for 8 hours or more in summer.
Just turning off the air conditioner can save you BIG money on your power bill but how do you stay cool without it ?
There are several natural passive ways to cool a house and most are very inexpensive or free.
Passive means no motor or power source required and that's a good thing!
The first way is to plant trees:
Trees planted on south side of house will naturally shade the house and decrease sunlight entering through windows. Plant deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves) if you want the sun to shine on the house in winter or Evergreen trees (needle leaf) if you want year round shade.
Trees take time to grow and must be fed and watered but some trees like the willows and poplars can grow 6 feet in a year and provide lots of shade.
Trees also increase the value of your house and just make the yard much nicer.
You can buy seedling trees very cheap but for faster growing get a bigger more mature tree.
Step 1: Build a Porch
Porches that cover the south side of a house and doors and windows will decrease the suns heat and light penetration into the house.
Windows on the south side will get a lot of sunlight and that can increase heat in the house but if you do not want to cover the windows to block the view a porch will shade the windows and still allow you to see outside.
The air under a porch is shaded and cooler so it makes a great place to hang out on hot summer days. It will also cool the air entering the house if you open the door and windows under the porch.
just a slight breeze blowing under a shaded porch and through the doors and windows will cool off a home considerably!
This is the front porch on my cabin:
Step 2: Passive Roof Turbines
A passive roof turbine exhausts warm air from your attic and house.
When even a slight breeze turns it will pull warm air out and bring cool air in through open doors and windows.
These are great at reducing heat in a house and helps to remove humidity, stale air, carbon monoxide and air pollution that is trapped in the house.
These come in different sizes and for larger homes you may want two or three.
I have one on my cabin and it really works to cool the whole house down!
Step 3: Use Fans
Fans are not passive and require power but they use much much less power than an air conditioner and can really reduce your power bill.
For best results a window box fan placed in a north window that is shaded can really bring in the cool air.
I like to have one placed so it blows over my bed at night and just the air moving will keep you cooler without cooling the entire house.
Ceiling fans are two way and can be used to pull cool air up or blow warm air down. Box fans move a lot of air and small personal fans will cool just a person and not the house.
When fans are used with shade trees, a front porch, and a roof turbine the house can be kept at a very comfortable level even on hot sunny days without expensive air conditioning.