While we may not be as green as Leonardo DiCaprio, there are simple low-tech steps we can take to decrease our carbon footprint and save money at the same time.

It seems going green is all the rage these days, especially when the Nickelodeon Network’s “Kid’s Choice Awards” recognized actor Leonardo DiCaprio in 2010 for his green lifestyle, including costly eco-friendly renovations to his home and driving a Prius. But not everyone has that type of income so the vast majority of us must take advantage of low-tech ways to keep cool in the summer as we attempt to cut costs and help the environment.

One low-tech way is to wear clothes that are made of natural fabrics like cotton, hemp and linen. These fabrics breathe and keep moisture away from the body. Eating cool is another way (no, we don’t mean eating trendy foods while wearing the latest style sunglasses). Protein-rich meals are better when the weather is cold because they warm your body up. In the summer you should dine on sandwiches and salads instead. Staying hydrated is essential. Consuming alcohol and caffeine on a hot summer day actually promotes dehydration. On days like these you should drink more water than you usually do and electrolyte replacement drinks if you sweat a lot. Water is the key to cooling off. Soaking your feet in a tub of cold water, putting on a wet bandana and taking a cool shower are all ways to combat the heat. Save your old spray bottles, fill them with water and keep them in the refrigerator, spritzing yourself regularly throughout the day. Take refuge during peak hot hours in your basement or at air-conditioned buildings like the library or movie theaters.

There are also some low-tech steps you can take to lower costs around your house as well. One way is to use solar shades or roller shades which lets light shine through but blocks up to 80% of solar heat. Keep all your windows, curtains and blinds closed during the day. South facing windows get the most sun while east-facing windows get sun in the morning and west-facing get the hotter and stronger sun in the afternoon and evening. Open your windows for air circulation after the sun sets and the air cools down enough in the evening.

Avoid using appliances like irons, washers and dryers during the day. You could eliminate using your clothes dryer altogether by using a clothesline instead. It’s also a good idea to avoid running your appliances between 4 and 6 pm because it helps to prevent brownouts. Cooking outdoors allows you to give your stove and microwave a rest. But if you can, use your microwave rather than your stove because it uses two-thirds less energy. You could also use a toaster for baking because it’s smaller and won’t heat up a kitchen like a stove or oven does. In addition, you’ll cut your energy use in half. If you’re not using your computer, turn it off! Leaving a computer or any appliance running when they’re not in use generates a lot of heat. Unplugging them will reduce your electric bill too. The power these appliances use adds up over time, no matter how small. Make the switch from incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent light bulbs or halogen infrareds. And we can’t say enough about fans. Placing an inexpensive portable fan in front of an open window when it cools down outside, will bring cool air inside. Another way to bring outside air in is by installing an attic fan. Even if you have an air conditioner, ceiling and room fans help to circulate the air and allow you to set your thermostat higher. Finally, refrigerators that are full of food require less energy to stay cool because they don’t warm up as quickly when the door is opened.

Save money in the summer with blinds st louis. Your checking account will be happy, and you’ll have more money to spend on the things that matter.

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