In British Columbia, where nighttime temperatures above 20°C are rare, it’s easy to keep your home comfortable without resorting to air conditioning, which is a big energy draw.

Open windows at night

A breezey open window in the twilightiStockVent warm household air as the temperature drops in the evening by leaving windows open. You can increase the air flow by opening windows at opposite sides of the home at once and, if applicable, on different floors.

 

Close windows during the day

The sunny window sill of a closed windowiStockClose windows before you leave the house in the morning. In addition to providing security, the home will be cooler than the air outside by afternoon.

 

Screen out the sun

A woman closes a horizontal blindiStockClosing window blinds and curtains exposed to the sun during the day will not only block between 40% and 65% of the heat that enters your house through windows but also save carpets, furniture, paint and natural woodgrain from fading.

 

Cook outside

A barbeque loaded with food outside near a picnic tableiStockAt any time of year, using the oven or stove will raise the temperature in your kitchen; in summer, it may become uncomfortable. One easy solution is to barbecue on your balcony or in the backyard instead, keeping the heat outside. Or consider serving cold dishes such as salads, cold soups such as gazpacho and sandwich fixings.

 

Use fans effectively

An electric fan near a window silliStockTry to situate fans to increase air flow. Draw air into the house at ground level and push it out on upper floors. Ensure fans in the same room are pointed in the same direction instead of facing each other. Overhead fans should turn counterclockwise, forcing air down.

 

Use air conditioning efficiently

A portable air conditioneriStockIf you still want the cool air from an air conditioner, set it up in a single room (such as a bedroom), with doors and windows closed, where it will really make a difference and not run continuously. Set it to 25.5°C for optimal energy efficiency. Turn it up to 28° – or off entirely – when you leave the room.