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Today marks the first official day of summer, and air conditioning can be a blessing to have for the next several months.  But how do you keep cool if you do not have air conditioning?  Fortunately there are some things that can lessen the severity of the summer heat.

Landscaping, when strategically placed, can actually save money on your energy bill.  A tactically placed tree can be a great, natural way to keep sunlight (and warmth!) out of your home in summer and let it in in winter, which can be great if you want to save money on heating. Use deciduous trees and place them on the south facing side of the home so that, when mature, their canopy will shade the windows and walls of the home. 

Natural ventilation, especially in more temperate areas, is an effective way to keep your home cooler.  Natural ventilation relies on pressure differences to move fresh air through buildings. Pressure differences can be caused by wind or the buoyancy effect created by differences in temperature or humidity. To create natural ventilation it helps to cross ventilation from large windows that open and allow for greater movement of air.  Screened door openings are also a good way to let the air in. Openings at higher levels such as windows on upper floors and attic vents allow allow rising hot air to escape. 

Fans work in tandem with natural ventilation by help keep air moving and keep occupants cool by enhancing evaporation. Ceiling fans are efficient coolers and are attractive additions to a home.  Floor or table fans are also efficient and have the added benefit of being portable.   

Window coverings can help keep out the heat from windows, while letting light and air through. Drapes are very effective at saving money, as are blinds.  

So see, with just a few simply, low cost efforts you can not only beautify your home, but also stay cool and save money.