Green Tips: Staying Cool in the Summer

Green Tips | July 3, 2019

Summer means it’s time to spend days outside. While you are adjusting to the new season, take a moment to consider how your actions may impact the environment. 

Here are some of our tips for staying cool in a sustainable way this summer. 

Bring your own water bottle: Drinking plenty of water is necessary to stay hydrated, especially during the hot summer months. The amount of water each person should consume varies, but the average recommended amount is four to six cups a day. If you are using a plastic bottle to stay hydrated, you will contribute to plastic pollution. In the United States, only 23% of plastic bottles are recycled and around 60 million are thrown away every single day. The New York City Department of Sanitation collects 36 million pounds of single-use plastic every year, just from New York City households. By carrying around your own reusable water bottle, you can cool down whenever you want without negatively impacting the environment. 

Consider alternatives to air conditioning: Air conditioning units use a lot of energy, and make up 12% of U.S. residential energy spending. While air conditioning may be essential during the hottest days of the summer, try to use alternatives when possible. Consider using fans instead, and open up windows to circulate air around your home. You may also try cooking outdoors. By preparing some meals outside, you avoid turning up the air conditioning to deal with the heat that comes from cooking inside. Any action that reduces the need for air conditioning should be taken, as American residential air-conditioning use emits 100 million tons of carbon dioxide every year.  

Line-dry your clothes: Summer means more warm, sunny days. Take advantage of this weather and reduce your energy consumption by line-drying your clothes outside. Dryers emit over a ton of carbon yearly, but this can be reduced with line-drying. 

Wear eco-friendly summer clothes: A big part of starting a new season is changing your clothes to better fit the weather. But, as you shop for your new wardrobe, keep in mind that the fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry in the country. If you have to buy new clothes, purchase the more eco-friendly options, including materials with low water consumption such as linen. Instead of throwing away old clothes, consider less wasteful options like donating or recycling them instead.

Use the natural light: The extra sunlight in the summer can also be used to reduce your energy consumption. No matter how seemingly small, every action that reduces energy consumption is particularly important in New York, where the household average is 15% more than the U.S. average. Turn the lights off during the day, and use the natural light coming in from outside. Remember to always turn lights off when they aren’t in use, no matter the season. 

Lose the straw: Iced drinks are both refreshing and popular in the summertime. As you pick up your order, try enjoying your drink without a plastic straw. The 500 million plastic straws used daily in the United States only increase plastic pollution. The fight against plastic straws is growing, and in New York City, there has been an ongoing effort to ban them. If you need a straw, go for more sustainable alternatives, including reusable metal straws. 

Spend more time outside: One of the best things about warmer weather is finally being able to spend time outside. Visit your local park to read a book or sit with your friends and family. Grab a spot in the shade and appreciate nature in a state park or New York City park closest to you. There are also plenty of events taking place in parks throughout the state to check out. 

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