Posted August 27, 2013 by Carol Martin in Seasonal

Green ways to make summer sun work for you

When summer sun has you slathering on sunscreen and retreating indoors to air-conditioned rooms, it&rsquos effortless to overlook the winter doldrums that made you eagerly anticipate sunshine and warm temperatures. Winter snow and dreary days appear far away, and you locate your self craving a respite from too significantly sun.

But all that summer time sun can perform in your favor. From powering your hot water heater or fresh air skylight to saving money by running your clothes dryer less, here are a few ways you can place the sun to operate for you this summer time.

Solar water heating

Replacing an old water heater proactively is a great concept for a number of motives. 1st, if it&rsquos older, it&rsquos most likely not as energy effective as newer models. And, when hot water heaters die, they can do so spectacularly, flooding the space exactly where they&rsquore housed and leaving your household with no the water they need to shower off summer season sweat and preserve clothes and dishes clean.

Contemplate replacing your current water heater with a solar water heating method. Even though such systems may expense a lot more to acquire and install than a conventional 1, numerous federal and state tax credits and other green solution incentives mitigate those costs. Plus, solar hot water systems reduce power charges in the long run.

&ldquoThe expense of a solar water heating program will differ depending on the size of the property and the volume of water you want to heat,&rdquo says Ross Vandermark of Velux America, marketers of solar-powered fresh air skylights and solar water heating systems. &ldquoOn average, however, they can reduce your water heating bills by 50 to 80 %, which is quite impressive when you contemplate that the U.S. Division of Power says water heating can account for up to 25 % of a house&rsquos power consumption.&rdquo

Solar-powered fresh air skylight

You can also save cash and enhance your indoor air good quality by opting for a solar-powered fresh air skylight. Energy effective solar powered skylights and accessories like solar powered skylight blinds, which can enhance energy efficiency by one more 45 %, are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit, as is the installation cost. Velux gives a tax calculator on its internet site to support you estimate your savings with the tax credit.

Power Star-certified, no leak solar-powered fresh-air skylights, like these made by Velux America, enhance indoor air good quality by allowing excess moisture and unhealthy air to escape your house. They also passively vent hot air that rises to your ceiling in summer, minimizing the load on your mechanical cooling systems although minimizing your energy bill. In rooms where a fresh air skylight isn&rsquot an alternative, tubular skylights like Sun Tunnel products let light inside, reducing the need for artificial light and brightening areas like hallways, closets, and other interior spaces both huge and modest.

Clothing drying

Humans have been employing solar power to dry garments for about as lengthy as we&rsquove been wearing fabric. Hanging clothing to dry in the sun makes it possible for you to trim your electric or gas use (depending on how you energy your clothing dryer) as a lot as $ 85 a year, plus it reduces the wear clothing experience tumbling in a dryer, the web site The Every day Green points out.

The California Power Commission says on average, it expenses 30 to 40 cents per load to dry clothes in an electric machine, and 15 to 20 cents if your dryer runs on gas. By comparison, line drying needs an initial outlay to cover the cost of the line device, and then the sunshine and fresh air are totally free.


Sure you adore cooking outdoors, but when summer season truly heats up no one particular desires to slave over a hot grill. Why not use the sun&rsquos power to cook food without the need to have to hover more than and watch it? Solar cookers are the answer.

One particular well-known sort, box cookers can accommodate a number of dishes at as soon as and are used in countries around the world where the sun is the most trustworthy supply of power. They cook at moderate to higher temperatures and require significantly less supervision than your gas grill. You can get 1 on the internet or develop your own &ndash a wonderful household project that can aid teach little ones about solar energy and greener living.

Lastly, if you&rsquore not ready to learn a entire new way of cooking, why not simply borrow a web page from fantastic-grandma&rsquos recipe book and use sunlight to brew tea? Just location a couple of bags of your favorite tea in a glass jar with water (make confident to keep the tags and strings hanging over the rim of the jar), cap the jar and spot it in the sun till the tea steeps to your desire flavor level.

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Carol Martin