It seems like we never catch a break! During the winter we need the heater on or we will freeze our buns off. In the summer, the heat and humidity is unbearable. We either end up glued to our leather couches by sticky sweat or we pass out from a heat stroke. Those of us who can afford an air conditioner will likely burn a hole through their pockets the size of the artic hole in the ozone layer. The energy cost is simply way too expensive and it is harmful to the environment. But there are a couple of alternative ways to stay cool this summer and it is cost saving and energy-efficient all at the same time.

Start by limiting the amount of electric equipment you have on during the day. You’d be surprised how much heat can be generated by computers, televisions, dishwashers, stoves and oven. You can reduce the amount of heat that gets trapped inside your home by using these devices in the evening when it is cooler.

If you think you are keeping your house cool by opening the windows and doors during the day, you’re wrong! All you are doing is allowing the heat to enter, not to mention all those pesky mosquitoes and bugs that are looking for a safe haven from the searing sun. So during the day, do not open your doors or windows. Once the sun goes down, you can let the house air out and allow the cool air to come in. You can actually speed this process up if the house is too muggy in the evenings by adding fans and directing them towards a window or door. This will push the warm air out.

Ceiling fans are excellent to keep the comfortable temperature level in your house to an acceptable level. I would personally recommend one for every room if possible, except the bathroom of course. It will not feel as cool as an A/C but it will make the summer heat far more manageable.

Remember that humidity is inescapable. Meaning you cannot go in the shade to avoid it like you would sunlight. But you can find a way to block out solar heat. You can achieve this by buying and installing mini-blinds for every window in your home. By doing this you can potentially repel up to 40 percent of the heat from the outside, perhaps more. You can go one step further and get blinds that are made from bamboo material. This natural material can repel the heat by more than 50 percent and as much as 80 percent.

Since we are talking about natural and Eco-friendly material, how about using some shade plants? A couple of carefully planted trees or large plants can act as a buffer between the sun and your window. All in all, it’s symbiotically beneficial. The plant gets some sunlight and your house gets to stay cool.

Air conditioning units are just too bulky and expensive; plus they harm the environment by releasing harmful emissions. You are way better off using these alternative steps to lower the scorching heat in the summer. You will get to keep your hard earned money and you will not have to feel guilty about potentially damaging the Eco-system.