5 ways to stay cool without air conditioning

As the climate warms and heat waves bake the planet, a lot of people resort to the immediate and obvious answer: they switch on the air conditioner.

But while AC is a solution in the here and now, it will be a big problem in the future. Already, 9 out of 10 U.S. households have air conditioning and, as more people around the world buy AC units, the units will rapidly accelerate climate change. The number of air conditioners worldwide is predicted to triple by 2050, to almost 6 billion. By century’s end, air conditioning emissions will cause as much as a 0.5-degree Celsius increase in global temperature.

It’s a negative feedback loop with a hellish output. More heat brings more air conditioning, more air conditioning brings more heat.

What you can do—what we all can do—is use air conditioning less. We can be mindful of the millions of people in the U.S. and the billions around the world who don’t have air conditioning and who suffer and die in the intensifying heat. If the weather is not unbearably hot, we can be a little less comfortable now so that our planet does not become catastrophically hot in the years ahead.

Here are five ways you can stay cool without air conditioning and help turn back the dial on climate change.

Stay hydrated

Don’t just drink fluids when you’re hot. Drink them before you get hot, starting in the morning and throughout the day. This will keep you from getting so hot in the first place. Your body regulates its temperature by sweating and it can’t sweat efficiently if it’s not hydrated.

Water is best but iced water is not. It feels cool but your body responds to cold water by working harder to warm up the water to body temperature.

Another reason to drink plenty of fluids: proper hydration boosts productivity. Your brain is almost three-quarters water and research shows that even mild dehydration (1%-2%) impairs cognitive function, while good hydration boosts productivity as much as 14%.

Close your curtains

This is a no-brainer. Close the curtains or blinds on any windows that admit sunlight. Consider installing blackout curtains, which will block more sunlight and keep rooms even cooler.

Use fans

A fan that blows air at you reduces your body temperature in two ways. By convection, as the moving air displaces the warm air that’s in direct contact with your skin. And by evaporation, as the moving air increases the rate at which your sweat evaporates.

A misting fan will keep you even cooler. It works by pulling moisture from its water reservoir and blowing it out in fine particles. As the particles evaporate, this cools the air that blows over you. The particles are so fine that they won’t cause water damage.

A box fan in an open window positioned to blow outward will take hot air from inside and blow it outside. If you have windows that face shaded outdoor areas where the air is cooler, open them and the cooler air will be drawn inside. If your home has more than one story, place fans in the ground-floor windows so that they draw cool air in and put fans in upper-floor windows to push warm air out.

Cook outdoors

Barbecues aren’t just for weekends—not when it’s hot. Warm air from your oven or stove can circulate throughout your home, so cooking outdoors can keep your indoor areas cool.

Fight with CREDO Mobile

We’re the one phone company that cares as much about our climate as you do. That’s why we’ve donated more than $19 million to nonprofit groups taking action to stop global warming and save our planet. Groups like 350.org, Green America and Friends of the Earth.

As a CREDO Mobile member, you help us generate donations for these vital groups and many others—at no extra cost to you. You get the good feeling that comes with knowing you support climate action, just by using your phone.

You also get the chance to vote every month and decide where we send our donations. If you’re concerned about climate change, follow CREDODonations.com and vote to support nonprofits that are fighting to get global warming under control. This month, among the three nonprofits we’re funding is Amazon Watch, which protects the Amazon rainforest and our climate in solidarity with Indigenous peoples.

Thanks for being a member of CREDO Mobile. As you take steps to stay cool, know that we’re taking steps every day to pull our climate back from the brink and save the only home we’ll ever have.