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Boston’s summer can get hot, but you can stay cool without releasing too much carbon pollution. If you have central AC, check out our tips for keeping cool, while reducing your carbon footprint. No AC? No problem! Instead of using air conditioning at home, try going to a designated cooling center or pool at one of Boston Cooling Centers. Or spend your time at a public library or a nearby coffee shop.

Keep the cool inside: A combination of insulation, ventilation, and ceiling fans can keep your place cool

  • Keep windows shut: If you’re using AC, close your windows, which is causing your home to lose cool air and emit pollutants.
  • Insulate and ventilate: Insulation will help keep cool air inside of your room. If your room feels like heatbox, you may need better ventilation. As a start, turn on a ceiling fan.
  • Shade your AC: Provide shade for your room AC or a window unit, which increases efficiency by 5 to 10 percent.
  • Shade your room: Screens, thick white curtains, and bamboo shades, will can stop the sun’s heat from coming through the windows. Pay special attention to shading windows that face east or west. 

 

Target 80 degrees for central AC 

80 degrees is a temperature that most people would be comfortable at, which is much less carbon-intensive than lower temperatures.

  • Eat cool and stay hydrated: Salads, light sandwiches, fruit, and plenty of water will let your body stay ahead of the heat.
  • Maintain your air conditioning: Clean filters every month during cooling season.

 

Switch to window AC units 

For those with central AC, using a window unit could reduce your emissions and save you money. Window units overall can release much fewer emissions if you spend most of your time in one room and use one window unit to cool it down. 

Properly size your AC unit: Bigger is not better

An over-sized AC unit is actually less effective at cooling your space than a smaller, properly sized unit.

When air conditioners are the right size, they remove both heat and humidity from the air. If the unit is too large, it will cool the room quickly, but it won’t remove all of the humidity, leaving the room with a damp, clammy feeling. So, how do you make sure you get the right sized unit or check to see if your unit is the right size? Follow these steps from this Energy Star guide.

1. Determine the square footage of your space. Divide your room up into basic shapes–squares and triangles. The area of these shapes can easily be calculated by multiplying the length times the width for squares, and dividing that number by two for triangles.

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2. Use the table below to calculate the correct cooling capacity, which is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour. If you already have an AC unit, this information should be displayed on the unit. It may be expressed in tons–1 ton = 12,000 BTU.

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