17. Control your cooling: Five simple strategies to help reduce your air conditioning bill

Staying cool without breaking the bank can be tough if you live somewhere hot.  These five strategies can help you stay comfortable without breaking the bank.


1: Introducing the Shrink

2: Eat plants for a day
3: Shuffle your food
4: Start a vegetable garden
5: Build a compost heap
6: Make a seasonal meal 

7: Take a purposeless walk
8: Cycle somewhere new
9: Let someone else drive
10: Improve your fuel economy
11: Research your motor
12: Plan a flightless holiday

13: Turn off your gadgets
14: Change a light bulb
15: Seal an air leak 
16: Control your heating
17: Control your cooling
18: Research your intensity
19: Research solar power
20: Save some water

21: Declutter a room
22: Upcycle some junk
23: Choose a used product
24: Invest in good design
25: Recycle some waste

26: Pay a person
27: Buy a quality offset
28: Plant a tree that sucks
29: Plant flowers for bees 
30: Support broader change 

  • Randy

    Hey, you should put comments on this page:


    I was disappointed that you say “we can’t all afford electric cars … and huge solar arrays.” EVs (in the US at least) are some of the most affordable vehicles. You can get a used leaf for as low as 15k. A new lease starts at 200 a month. In some states, its lower, as low as 70 a month. The Leaf, after federal incentives, is 21k, while the average new car costs ~50% more than that. The Leaf SV is only 1-2k more than a comparable Honda Accord (same size class, similar quality, similar options). For MANY families, a new Nissan Leaf will either break even or save them money. Virtually anyone can afford solar now. Don’t want to sign a long term loan or write a big check? Then you can lease them for as little as zero down and pay less per month for the power they produce than your power rate.

    • Lindsay Wilson

      It is a page, not a post, so it doesn’t have comments. I’ve got lots of students that read this, I can assure you that if you don’t own a home and can’t afford a crappy old car than an EV or solar is out of the question. Nor should all people want solar or EVs. What’s wrong with a bicycle and a green electricity provider?

      • Randy

        There is nothing wrong with that, but if someone can afford a new car, they can probably afford an EV, and if someone can afford a home, they can certainly at least lease solar panels. Most people in the US have to drive a lot, everything is spaced out, and for many people, the Leaf is the most cost effective car available. I just don’t like how that implies these are both more expensive options, when often they actually save money.

        • Lindsay Wilson

          Sure, that is a fair critic. It really does depend on milage. At low mileage per year you can’t make and economic argument, whereas at high mileage it is a no brainer. Solar not dissimilar to be fair

          • Randy

            You can make an economic argument, if you are buying a new car anyway. Otherwise a used EV may make sense. Although I wouldn’t like to see a nice, used Leaf (available for as low as 15k USD now) go to someone only driving 4k miles a year, I think they should get a lower efficiency vehicle so someone else can have that efficient one. If an old woman only drives to church twice a week and only drives 2k miles a year, then no, it doesnt make sense, but this isnt the average car buyer… This is the one that should be driving an old, inefficient car.

            Its important to remember that there are many more benefits to getting a new[er] EV than just economics too. No one upgraded from a CRT to an LED TV for economics.

            I love solar, I loved experimenting with it and running my electronics off of it. I set up a small off grid circuit to run my electronics off of it so I would still have internet, my computer, and cell phone service when the power went out (assuming the cable didnt go out too). I lived in a forest, so I had to use a “mini cell phone tower,” which went through the cable company. Some other person must have spent the insane amount of money it costs to have the cable company send the cable out there…

          • Lindsay Wilson

            The carbon argument really does depend where you live, the grid dictates whether solar or EV makes more sense on carbon. But to be honest if you stick them on a MAC curve they aren’t great investments for carbon cutting. At a global level the idea that we can all have cars is quite a stretch. The manufacturing emissions alone make it almost untenable. If you want to talk about health, society, economics and utility, best to look a bit closer at the bicycle

          • ivyespalier (Randy)

            Here in Poland, I don’t have a car and dont need one. In the US, its hard to even walk in many larger cities because many roads don’t even have sidewalks. One advantage to getting an EV is that you are investing in a new technology, which will continue to grow and build marketshare.

            I wonder if EVs will make urban sprawl worse in the US, sense they are so damn cheap to drive. The US subsidies houses. Why not tax houses and actually design cities?

  • Randy

    Now that I live in Poland, I live in a building with no air conditioning. Its not bad either, it was always a lot warmed in Ohio, so it doesnt even feel hot here.

  • Niall Lazenby

    Hi all,
    Looking at buying this aircon unit for my office from a local company (http://www.easyairconditioning.com/shop/product/2-kw-tz-compact-wall-mounted-system-r32—single-phase-kit-tz20-tke-3275), there’s a lot of green boxes at the bottom but would someone be able to let me know if it’s a ‘clean’ device?