25 Cheap Ways to Keep Your House Cooler

Our biggest home energy consumption is cooling -- unless you take steps to reduce use of your air conditioner.  Many of these ideas cost little or nothing.   They will save you money and reduce your impact on global warming.

Cool efficiently

Landscape for a cooler house

Don't air-condition the whole neighborhood

Take advantage of tax credits
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 allows consumers to receive a federal TAX CREDIT up to $500 for making energy efficient improvements on their home, including installing ENERGY STAR qualified windows, skylights, new heating and cooling systems, reflective roofs, and more.  In addition, TAX CREDITS up to $2,000 are available for solar hot water heating, photovoltaics, or fuel cells.  Go to http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_tax_credits for complete details.  (Remember that a tax credit is money directly in your pocket; it is much better than a tax deduction.)

Thanks to the Department of Energy's Energy Star program, which provides most of these tips (and more) at http://www.energystar.gov/