Beat the Heat Without Air Con

cool airWhen summer temperatures soar, the air con companies rub their hands with glee, as people rush to buy something, anything, to keep themselves cool and sane in the heat.

Before you join the throng, think about the costs involved, not just to your pocket but also to the environment. Air con isn’t only an initial outlay but will also push up your electricity bills considerably and make your carbon footprint a whole lot heavier.

So first try some of these tips to stay cool without raising your electricity bills this summer.

Open windows strategically.
The cool of early morning and late evening is the time to throw open every single window and let the cooler air flow through your home. As soon as the sun burns off that morning cool, close all the windows up tight again, shade sunny windows with blinds and hang on to that cool air as long as you can. Train family members to close doors too in the middle of the day and your home will stay cooler for longer naturally. As soon as evening cools down throw everything open once more. It’s worth getting up before the sun, just to enjoy that early morning freshness and flood your home with the precious cool air.

Use fans
A ceiling fan does use electricity it’s true, but far less than air con. The gentle breeze helps cool you down and helps air flow in the home. Get clever with standing fans too. Try hanging a dampened muslin cloth over the front of one, for a breeze cooled further by water droplets.

Do your baking at night
Having your oven on during the day is bound to warm up your house unbearably on hot summer days. Any baking that needs doing can be done in the evening with doors wide open for the heat to escape. For the same reason use other heat producing appliances at night: dishwashers give off quite a bit of heat as they dry. You probably don’t need your tumble dryer in the summer anyway, with clothes drying on the line in no time, but if you are still using it out of habit, switch to line-drying for the duration of the summer heat, saving electricity and keeping cool.

Switch to LED light bulbs
In small rooms the heat given off by incandescent light bulbs can be considerable over the course of a day. Switch to LED light bulbs which are much cooler and use a fraction of the electricity.

Plant your garden for shade
Shade the sunny side of your house with trees planted cleverly. Notice where the sun comes from in summer and compare it to where it comes from in winter. You want the winter sunshine to reach the house for warmth, so get the right angle to block summer sun and allow winter sun through. Plant deciduous trees which will be in full leaf in summer, so nice and shady, but lose their leaves in winter to let in more light and warmth when it is needed. This is a longer term solution, as trees do take time to grow, but for quicker results buy mature large trees from a specialist nursery. Not only will you save energy in cooling the house but your tree will lighten your carbon footprint too.

Switch to iced tea and coffee
Make yourself a supply of iced tea or coffee and stash it in the fridge. Not only will this save boiling the kettle (more heat and electricity) but it will keep you feeling cooler to sip at iced drinks instead of hot ones.

Photo: © Dan Ionut Popescu | Dreamstime.com

How To Go Green With Business Cards

The green approach to business cards can benefit from the overall green mantra being applied to it: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Yes, business cards are essential in today’s business climate, but they don’t have to be wasteful, they can be functional and they should always be recyclable!

That means a big NO to the latest trend in plastic business cards – yes they last longer, but do you really want to be advertising your business 100 years from now in the landfill?

Reduce
Have fewer business cards printed. See if you can get a deal with a printing company whereby they will keep your design on record and print them off in smaller batches as you need them. There’s nothing more wasteful than a huge batch of business cards ordered one year, only for you to change some details and need a new one before you’ve even used half of them.

Re-use
Find ways of making your business cards re-usable. The obvious use would be as bookmarks and coffee mats, but you can get really creative with this. Here are some ideas we like
re-usable clothes-peg business cardre-usable elastic band business cardOr re-use old business cards and hand-write your details on the back to make a statement:

re-use old business cards
Recycle
It goes without saying that your business cards should be recyclable. Stick with paper and card and avoid the metallic and plastic effects that are becoming popular now. Even better go for recycled card and paper and vegetable based inks which are available at most eco-conscious printers these days.Here is one place to go for printing green business cards in Cape Town.

If your business is seriously green in mindset and a slick image is less important than an authentically green one, make your own cards by recycling cardboard from cereal packets, tea boxes and so on. cardboard stamped business card

Or re-use scrap office paper.

recycled scrap paper business cardIf you’ve got some great ideas or great pics of green business cards, please do share!