Keeping a Cool Nest

This April, I’ve committed to using my air conditioning for no more than 5 hours each day throughout our 30-Day Sustainability Challenge to celebrate Earth Month. Though it’s turned out to be a bit harder than I’d anticipated, I’m happy to say that at 8 days in, I’ve only turned on my thermostat for a total of approximately 16 hours!

I live in a small apartment in Austin, Texas, and though it may be hard for Northeastern-dwellers to believe, springtime in Texas is HOT! Our average daytime temperature since April 1 has been around 80 degrees – and humid!

CC Apartment Nest

I set my Nest Learning Thermostat to “Away” – i.e., turn the thermostat off – whenever I’m out of the apartment, which sometimes ends up being 12 hours a day. By the time I get home at night, the temperature inside my apartment has only risen as high as 80 degrees.

Then I have to get ready for bed, and as I only need a comfortable 76 degrees to sleep, it’s not worth turning on the A/C just to get the temperature to drop those four degrees.

Here are a few things I’ve learned thus far:

Tips for a Cool Nest:

  • Try cooking without the oven. Making dishes at home that don’t require firing up the oven can help keep your whole house cool – especially if you’re in a small apartment! I’ve been making cold dishes (spring salads!) and using the microwave as an alternative.
  • Turn off the lights. Sounds silly, but since I’ve stopped using my A/C, I’ve really noticed how hot the lamps throughout my apartment can get. I love the light, but have started using candles and smaller appliances (like string lights) as alternatives.
  • Get your bed ready for summer. Cranking up the A/C just to help you fall asleep doesn’t make sense! I’ve transitioned to lighter bedding to keep cool at night. I also recommend making use of your ceiling fan if you have one!

Unexpected Benefits:

  • Getting out of my apartment and exploring Austin! The easiest way to avoid using energy at home is to get out of the house. Instead of sitting on the couch at night scrolling through Netflix and cooling my apartment down to 76 degrees, I’ll go out and explore, and I end up giving back to the local economy.