Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Keep Cool Without AC (Because It’s Making You Broke)

Baby, it’s hot outside. And like every other summer, people all over are getting back into popsicles and running into movie theatres just to cool off. With this hot weather—which by the way can be delicious, if you take advantage of swimming holes, beaches or public pools—comes a renewed addiction to the air conditioner. But you may want to reconsider blasting your AC in the cars, in your house, and in your workplace (unless you’re working outside, ’cause that breeze is free). It raises your electricity costs by fifty percent.

If you really want to save money this summer, you should unplug your AC. This doesn’t mean you’re going to melt into a steaming puddle of unhappiness. You just need to know the other—cheaper—ways to cool off. We’ll start with your office.

The following is an excerpt from Greening Your Office by Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert.

Don’t switch it on; reduce the need for air conditioning by:

Reducing internal heat sources
Most of the energy consumed by conventional light bulbs is released as heat, which is very inefficient. Change your light bulbs to low-energy ones—remove this heat source and reduce your energy bill at the same time.

Most conventional office equipment, from computers to photocopiers, also produces heat when operating, further warming your office air. Switch machines off when not needed, or put them on standby. Consider using the “traffic light system” for your office equipment: red—do not turn off; amber—put on standby; green—turn off.

Shading your windows
Preventing the sun’s rays from entering your office will help prevent the air in your office from warming up. Curtains and blinds inside the office help considerably. However, it is most effective to shade the windows externally by fitting shutters or awnings, which can be put away when not required.

If your office is on the ground floor, consider creating shade by growing plants around, above, and over your windows. There are many fast-growing beautiful plants that will add a new dimension to your office space and be a pleasure to watch throughout the seasons. Ventilating naturally—open the windows!
Experiment with opening various windows to produce a pleasant cooling breeze; on all but the stillest day it is possible to generate natural ventilation.


The Limits to Growth and Greece: Systemic or Financial Collapse?

Could it be that the ongoing Greek collapse is a symptom of the more general collapse that the Limits to Growth model generates for the first two decades of the 21st century? Author Ugo Bardi (Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth is Plundering the Planet) examines the correlation between what is unfolding between Greece […] Read More..

Wild Edibles: 5 Tips for Beginner Foragers

Ever spotted a dandelion growing in your backyard and wondered, can I eat that? According to wild plants expert Katrina Blair, the answer is a resounding yes. And there are plenty of other commonly found weeds that fall into this category as well. In her book The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, Blair introduces readers to […] Read More..

10 Books to Celebrate the International Year of Soils

Beneath our feet lies a resource that is critical to our future. It’s the first thing we think about when it comes to farming and gardening – and yet, one of the last things considered when thinking about the long-term preservation of our earth. It’s the basis for healthy food production, is a crucial tool […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Permaculture Approach to Managing Hedge Bindweed

As Permaculture Month continues, we are making our expert authors available to answer your burning permaculture questions. If you have a question to submit, fill out this form. In the below Q&A, Tao Orion, author of the new book Beyond the War on Invasive Species, discusses how she approaches weed management. Orion believes invasive species are good ecological […] Read More..