Monday, July 20, 2009

Being Green In The Heat

This summer and last summer, I have experimented with being green with the air conditioning in the heat. Other than a few days, it hasn't been overly onerous if you are willing to walk around smelling like an escapee from a gym workout all day.

During this time of the year the high temperature during the day is generally between 90 and 105. Even though we are in the flat semi-desert, we are still at an altitude of 3,900+ feet, so it generally cools a bit in the evening/night. If we get lucky, the daytime temperature only reaches the low 90s and the nighttime drops to the upper 60s. So by practicing diligent airflow control (opening the windows and turning on the fans when the outside temp drops below 80 and closing the windows in the early morning when the temperature inside has dropped to the low 70s), I can manage to keep the house livable with no use of the air conditioner. The drawback is that it means I spend my days in an office that runs between 84 and 90 degrees. Which is warm enough to cause the aforementioned gym funk effect. The rest of the house generally stays in the 70s, but all the computer equipment in my office generates enough heat to cause the temperature difference. I can live with the warm office for now.

The problem is that sometime in the next couple of months we typically get a few days or weeks of really hot weather. Days with highs in the 105-118 range and cooling at night only to 85. Then it becomes almost impossible not to fire up a bit of air conditioning. So I am not looking forward to the coming heat. Last year I managed to run the air less than five days. it will be interesting to see what I can do this year.

The reason I bring all of this up was that yesterday and today was one of those weather conditions where it has been in the upper 90s each day and has not been cooling much below the mid 70s at night. Thus the indoor temperature has been rising. Today my office hit 89 late in the afternoon, which is just a bit too high. So I'm hoping for a cool night and a less hot day tomorrow. Otherwise, I'm going to have to fire up at least one of the chilling units (the house has two units, a 5 ton at one end and 12 ton at the other end including my office). I really don't want to, but it may become a necessity.

The only drawback to the green method of staying cool is that in years like this one where we have had unusual amounts of rain, the number of mosquitoes has also reached new heights. And this year they are all little hungry bugbears that can fly right through the screens to bite and leave really itchy welts. So the combination of mosquitoes and gnats and open windows leads to the occasional use of the vacuum cleaner to suck them all to oblivion once they decide to land and congregate. Either that or invite a few guests over to serve as preferred food hosts for the ravening hordes. (Mosquitoes generally avoid biting me if there is any other possible target around - I assume it is because of some of the drugs I take.)

So what are you doing to be green about cooling this summer?

1 comment:

  1. We too don't run the air much. It helps this year that we joined a pool and I can drag the kids there are warm days.


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