My favorite alternative cooling device is a gin and tonic. It’s portable, easy to operate and provides instant on-demand refreshment.
Is there such a thing as a Tanqueray energy tax credit?
Although you can install solar panels, a wind turbine or micro hydro to generate the electricity to run an air conditioner, the only true whole house alternative cooling method is a geothermal ground source pump.
The cost of this type of system can be recouped in as little as two years on a new house installation, but the initial capital outlay is more than most homeowners can afford.
Let’s say you re-mortgage your house for $20,000 and you have a choice between a new kitchen and a geothermal heat pump; how many new heat pumps have your neighbors been showing off lately?
Less expensive options to consider:
The only people who haven’t learned the value of caulking, weather stripping and insulating yet are living in caves or tents.
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Ceiling, paddle, and portable fans produce air motion across your skin that increases evaporative cooling. A moderate breeze of one to two miles an hour can extend your comfort range by several degrees.
Whole House Fans and Evaporative (Swamp) Coolers
These devices can reduce your air conditioning costs by 50% or more but are only effective if you live in a dry climate (less than 40%humidity).
Elastomeric roof coatings reflect 90% of the sun’s rays and will reduce the indoor temperature by 7 degrees according the independent research laboratory MER Corporation. These coatings are for flat roofs and cost around .50 per square foot to apply.
These shiny, reflective barriers keep excess heat out of your attic in the summer or keeping your floors warm in the winter. Stapled under the rafters or joists, it reflects 97 of the radiant heat that strikes it. The non-profit Florida Solar Energy Center has shown that an attic radiant barrier can reduce air conditioning costs by at least 20%.
Clean the filter once a month. Turn off your A/C when you leave for more than an hour. It saves money. Draw the shades while you’re at work. Close off unused rooms or, if you have central A/C, close the registers in those rooms and shut the doors.
Set your A/C thermostat at 78°F—or higher if you have ceiling fans. For each degree you raise the thermostat, you’ll save 3%-5% on cooling costs.
If you want to make a fortune in alternative cooling, invent an air conditioner that runs on corn.