California Greenin’: Beat the heat, save money on rebates

| September 3, 2014 | 1 Comment

The only thing worse than a summer heat wave is an autumn shock wave when you get the air-conditioning bill. When September rolls around and the temperatures are still hitting 90, maybe it’s time to explore some alternatives.

Utilize windows

Like a villa in a Merchant Ivory film that needs opening each dawn, your home benefits from flinging windows open to greet cool morning with its lingering moonlight and dew.

LET THE BREEZE waft indoors on cool mornings.

LET THE BREEZE waft indoors on cool mornings.

Let the morning breeze waft indoors and the walls will soon cool off. Don’t forget to close up shop before the sun reaches its zenith and blows in hot air. The walls will thank you later by absorbing the warm remains of the day and keep your home cool during the afternoon heat.

Window tinting

We already tint the windows of our cars. It’s time to add solar film to the window panes at home.

The film can reject up to 70 percent of the sun’s heat. It comes in rolls and is cut to fit each piece of glass. This allows sunlight in while reducing the amount of heat and damaging UV light that can pass through to heat your home and fade furniture.

DIY solar film can be purchased at home improvement stores.  If you’re worried about being able to apply it to your windows without any wrinkles, you can hire a professional to do the installation.

Don’t worry, you won’t lose your room with a view. Solar film comes in every shade from clear to room darkening.

Window coverings

Not just another pretty face, window treatments act as a sophisticated energy-saving device disguised as décor. They can be as simple as roller shades cut to width from the local hardware store. But if you really want to beat the summer heat, Shawna Poliquin of You Are Here Design recommends thermal-insulated drapery.

“Metal or wood blinds can keep out the sun’s direct rays but they won’t absorb heat energy the way insulated fabric will.”

A reflective white backing on the sunny-side of curtains married to a darker fabric on the interior can keep your room comfortable while the sun scorches. Just as important as the material is the location of the curtains.

“If you can only afford to cover a few windows, choose the west-facing ones. They get the afternoon sun which is the killer,” says Poliquin. “And the more opaque the better.”

Whole house fan

In Los Angeles, sweltering days are often rewarded with balmy nights. Running the air conditioning while the air outside is pleasant feels wasteful.  But enticing that desirable night air to come indoors can be harder than getting your child to leave a play date.

Install a whole house fan and break out of AC lock-down. Whole house fans work by forcing hot air out through gables or vents and drawing cooler air in from open windows or doors. Similar to a chimney effect, where heat rises and is replaced by cooler air, the fan blows the hot air out and creates a natural cool breeze.

The Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power offers a $200 rebate for whole house fans which are well-suited for climates with low humidity and dramatic temperature decreases at night—like the one supplied to us by the California coastline. The fans can be far pricier than the rebate but can lower energy needs for decades to come. After all, Mother Nature doesn’t charge for her services.

Resources

Energy-efficient window treatments, http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/energy-efficient-window-treatments.

LADWP whole house fan rebate, visit ladwp.com, click on residential/rebates.

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Category: Real Estate

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  1. Amazing. Love the writing and the information!

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