Shade Thy Home

“Another big factor is heat avoidance,” stresses Weiner, “using shade trees, managing ventilation, adding window coverings (on the inside) and awnings (on the outside) to keep heat from reaching the house in the first place.”

Shading of any kind is helpful, but it’s always best to block the sun before it gets to the house. Alex Wilson, Executive Editor of Environmental Building News, writes in a recent blog of Green Building Advisor: “Shading windows is the easiest way to keep your house cool or keep your air conditioning bills down. Pulling down interior window blinds will help (the more reflective the outer surface of the blinds the better), but shading is even more effective if you can block the sunlight on the outside of your windows ... Climbing vines on a trellis, nearby trees, large potted plants that can be rolled in front of doors or windows and awnings can also help a lot. If there’s no way to block that sunlight on the outside of windows and patio doors, install and use interior blinds.”