5 Ways to Stay Green During a Heat Wave

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

sunglasses, reflection, light stream, glowing

Yes, so it turns out that Ottawa is in the middle of the longest heat wave it has experienced since the formation of the continents some 2 billion years ago. This kind of weather puts environmentalists in a tight spot. On the one side there is the need to look out for Mother Earth: on the other, no one wants to actual experience what it feels like to melt. So, here is our quick guide to staying green when the going gets hot.

Unplug everything
Seriously, it may not seem like it but all the things you have plugged in at home are contributing to an increase in the ambient temperature. Think of what happens when you leave your laptop on your lap for too long or when you touch an old style incandescent light bulb. Try to put as many thing as you can unto a power bar and just power down during the day.
Take cold showers
This is a tried and true method to keeping nice and cool. The cold shower not only doesn't use any energy to heat the water coming through the tap, but it can also effectively lower your body temperature by a couple of degrees. The cold water can also have a positive, albeit small, impact on the temperature of your house.

Close your blinds
A couple of degrees cooler is what you can expect. It may not seem like much but when it means the difference between 25º and 28º inside your house, trust me... you will be happy. Close your blinds during the day and keep the heat out. If you want to be a super keener, use curtains that are outside of your house, this prevents the solar radiation from even getting inside in the first place.

Stay away from your house.... let's face it, it's just an oven anyways
No seriously, there are tonnes of little coffee shops and businesses that are running air-conditioners like crazy. Why not leave yours turned off, take advantage of theirs, and provide a little bit of relief to the electrical grid? Stay away from your hot-house and spend some time with friends or getting caught up on some reading.
*Special tip - come by the campus and chill in some of the lounges. The University has to keep their public spaces air-conditioned.

Don't use the stove... BBQ
Yes, this could be one of those great things where you get to say you are being green doing something that you love. Cooking in-doors in the summer time is a big no no. It increases the temperature of your house and consequently makes your air-conditioner work harder. If you don't have a BBQ, hit up a friend that does and tell that you have to do it... for the planet.

~ jON - campus sustainability manager
photo credit - jonathan rausseo

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