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Summer is always a test of how much energy costs and how it has increased from one year to the next, especially in the warmer climates. As the cost of energy rises, homeowners look for ways to cut back on the amount of energy used.
Alternative strategies for saving on utility bills during warm summers are just as important as those in winter for the colder climate areas. Here are some ways to lower energy costs during the hot sizzling summers.
1. Put awnings over windows. This blocks the sun from reaching the inside without detracting from the view. Windows on the south, east, and west sides of the home are the only place you really need to install awnings. You may also consider window shutters to serve the same purpose. While curtains can cut out some of the heat penetration, stopping the rays before they enter the home is a much better preventative measure.
2. Plant trees strategically to block the sun. Trees are the most natural sun screen there is, because they have leaves in the summer when it's hot and lose them in winter when the sun helps warm the house. Another alternative, for those who worry about trees falling on their home, is the use of trellises with vines that divert the rays. Trees, bushes, and other natural shade can reduce the temperature by as much as nine degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Install a light colored roof. It is a simple consideration, but it makes a big difference in what penetrates past that outer layer. Depending on the type of material on a roof, you may be able to paint a reflective coating on the roof surface. If you have a dark asphalt roof, replace it with a lighter one when you reroof.
4. Install attic ventilation fans. Getting air to move so that heat exits and cooler air comes in to replace it can make ten to twenty degrees difference in an attic. If the attic is cooler, the area below will require less energy to keep the temperatures lower, and a fan consumes much less energy than an air conditioner. Turbine-style attic ventilators are an excellent passive system for removing hot attic air, too.