Heat waves, like the one in North America this week, increase demand on limited grid energy sources. Air conditioners use a disproportionately high percentage of this energy demand. Here are a few ways to reduce air conditioner use and lower your energy bill.

Beat the heat by adjusting your sleeping, eating, and dressing habits. Much of Canada and the U.S. has been experiencing extreme heat over the past week. Temperatures in my southwestern Ontario town hit the low 40s Celsius (107-109 F) this past weekend, which is unheard of. There have been multiple deaths attributed to the heat in Montreal, and public health officials are intervening to ensure that people are safe, distributing water and hosting cool-down centers in urban areas. At times like these air conditioning can seem like a true luxury, but not everyone has it, nor does everyone want to use it. The good news is, there are ways to strategize in order to make an AC-free house cooler than it would be if you did nothing. Some of the following tips are common sense; others I learned during my time living in Recife, Brazil, just south of the equator, where people cope with extreme heat on a daily basis. Feel free to share any additional tips in the comments below. 1. Manage your windows: Open windows at night to let in cool air, close them in the morning to keep it in. This works well […]

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