You are here

Hot Town, Summer in the City

June 4, 2012 - 2:06pm


Last fall, we mentioned the power that the "Inspiration of Music" can have for Energy Savers. At that time heading into winter, we talked generally about using tonal energy to start saving energy.

But tunes can get us in the mood for summer, too. Take the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City" which begins "hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty." I believe we can all relate. Summer months present plenty of opportunities to save energy—as long as you stay cool about it. As a warm up, you could spin Donna Summer's "Dim All the Lights," a bit of advice which never hurts.

In anticipation of summertime grooves, maybe it's time to get ready for some savings. Think of Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light" as you make a plan. If you have a yard, one thing to consider is landscape shading. Because heat from the sun can increase our reliance on air conditioning, it pays to use shading to cut heat gain, and cut costs. We live in a temperate region, and recently planted a Fat Albert tree. While it won't do much for awhile, eventually trees like this can help with both shading and evapotranspiration—the process by which a plant moves and releases water vapors. Trees can actually cool surrounding air by as much as 9° F. Other things, such as climbing vines or bushes, can help provide shade and channel summer breeze—like the Seals and Crofts song of the same name.

Another way to go would be to think of cooler roofs. The Drifters' oldie (covered by James Taylor among others) tells of the refuge an apartment deck: "I go up where the air is fresh and sweet (up on the roof)." But there is also the option of a roof that is designed to reflect heat, and protect residents from the summer swelter.

Finally, if you live in a apartment or a house, and you find yourself getting beaten by the heat, what about investing in some good blinds? You may have put up with some that don't block out the sound, but as LCD Soundsystem noted in "I Can Change," you can change. Last year, we added some high quality blinds to our guest bedroom which had been notable for cranky visitors waking up early because the sunrise poured through an opaque blind. These new ones, which weren't difficult to install, create a cave-like effect, keeping the room dark and much more cave temperature. The beauty of finishing such a project is that you can crank your stereo or shuffle, and blast away with a song such as The Heavy's "How You Like Me Now?" My guess is that with a little music providing inspiration, you'll like your summer energy savings a lot more.