GLOBAL WARMING IS NO HOAX
Is the truth finally hitting us hard? Unbearably hot summers, above average temperatures, no snow fall when it was expected to happen and severe drought conditions. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information the average US temperature during June 2015 was 71.4 degrees F, 2.9 degrees above the 20th-century average and the second warmest June on record. The June US precipitation total was 3.53”, 0.60 above average, the 9th wettest June on record. Global warming is not a hoax. It is staring at us straight in the eye. There is too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused by the burning of fossil fuels in cars, factories and electricity production. It acts as a blanket around the earth, trapping heat and warming it.
A recent study conducted by Stanford University scientists has concluded that if greenhouse gas concentration continues to increase, many regions of the world will experience an irreversible rise in summer temperature in the future.
With predictions of warmer summers ahead for us, one can only think of ways and means to beat the heat. Wearing loose fitting clothing preferably of a light color is common sense. Take frequent baths or showers with cold, tepid water without wasting too much of it. Stay hydrated all the time by drinking plenty of water or other liquids. Instead of hot foods, try light summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low-fat dairy products. Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house. Pay particular attention to the elderly, infants and anyone with a chronic illness as they may dehydrate quickly and are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Pets too need protection from dehydration.
KEEP COOL WITHOUT CRANKING THE AIR CONDITIONER
Air conditioners cost Americans about 11 billion dollars a year. Those AC’s release 100 million tons of CO2 into the air annually – 2 tons for each home that uses one.
Closing curtains to block out the sun will help keep colder air in your home.
Having a dehumidifier will help you from feeling damp or sweaty.
Fans create breeze during the day but can also be used at night when temperatures drop. Point a fan to the outside of a window to let cooler air into a room.
Caulking doors and windows will keep the heat out and the cold air in.
Being aware of the fact that energy loss is happening in both summer and winter pays off in the long run and keeps energy bills lower.
USE WINDOWS AND WINDOW COVERINGS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE IN SUMMER
If you are not at home during the day, closing all your doors, windows, curtains and blinds to keep your house cool as long as possible is a wise step.
When at home, cover windows when wanted. Remember that south facing windows let in a lot of sun, east facing windows get sun in the morning, west facing one’s get hotter and stronger sun in the afternoon and evening.
Dark colored curtains, Roman shades, and even roller shades can be very effective in keeping out the sun. Roller shades can lock up to 80% of solar heat.
If the air cools down enough in your home by the evening, open up your window for some fresh air and circulation.
WINDOW TREATMENTS TO REDUCE SOLAR GAIN THIS SUMMER
A sensible solution to the increasing solar gain and rising energy bill this summer – we do not need to blast the AC in our homes. The right materials and proper placement of window dressings can keep the sun at bay and lower our energy bills. According to the D.O.E, something as simple as a set of medium colored drapes backed with white plastic reduces solar heat gain by as much as 33%.
Shades are being considered as the simplest and most efficient way to save energy with window treatments. To minimize heat gain and heat loss, they should be mounted as close to the glass as possible and right up against the adjacent wall to create a tight seal.
Dual shades of a light color on one side and the darker color on the other are more functional. One can reverse the shades based on the season, with the lighter color always on the warmer side.
Both interior and exterior blinds reduce solar heat gain while maintaining desired light control, privacy, and ventilation. They are ideal for south and east facing windows. Exterior blinds are more effective than interior blinds as they block heat before it gets transmitted through the window.
Drapes help to insulate your home from both solar heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter depending on their color and fabric weight.
Exterior awnings can reduce solar heat gain by up to 65% for south – facing windows and 77% for west facing windows. Opaque and lightly woven awnings block the sun better than flimsy fabrics. Light colored awnings reflect more sunlight than do darker ones. Since awnings trap hot air next to the window, the DOE recommends openings in the awnings for ventilation.
Roof overhangs operate similarly to awnings. They have to be incorporated into a building design on South facing windows in such a way that they can block solar heat in summer but allow desirable heat to help warm interiors in winter.
High reflectivity film reduces heat gain the entire year. The DOE suggests using it in places that have short winters so that houses that have it will not lose out on solar heat in winter. Silver, mirror-like film works better than more transparent film. High reflectivity film works better on enormous windows where a cool temperature is desirable. They are ideal for east and west facing windows.
Mesh window screens mounted on the exterior of east and west facing windows diffuse solar radiations and reduce heat gain in windows that need light all year round.
Zebrablinds.com has a wide range of shades, blinds, shutters and drapery created in unique designs and various color options by leasing window treatment companies, Graber, Crown, and Norman. They are not expensive, and if you are lucky enough to avail of their discount offers with a free home delivery, it is half the battle won against solar heat gain in summer.