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THE DAILY GREEN: With much of the U.S. experiencing a summer heat wave, everyone’s thinking about cooling off.

1. Close your windows (as silly as that sounds)

It may seem counterintuitive, but opening the windows will often make your home warmer, not cooler. Open your windows at night if the air outside is cooler than inside, and close them – along with blinds and shades – before the sun hits your house in the morning. This will allow cool night air to circulate, and prevent a good deal of the sun’s heat from reaching indoors. You may also put houseplants – particularly larger potted trees – in front of sunny windows to absorb some of the sun’s energy.

2. Cook a cool meal (or don’t cook at all)

Just as drinking a nice cold cocktail cools your body, eating cold food helps keep your internal temperature lower on a hot day. One great option: Watermelon and Cherry Salad with Fresh Mint Syrup. If you do cook, use the grill or the microwave, or else you’ll heat up your kitchen from using the oven and stove.

3. Shut off the lights

While modern lightning, like compact fluorescents and LEDs, are more efficient, incandescent light bulbs can produce as much heat as they do light. Energy Star-rated light bulbs produce 75% less heat, so consider that when replacing bulbs. It’s always a good idea to shut off lights to save energy, it makes a big difference on hot sunny summer days. The same goes for many electronics, so consider unplugging any device that isn’t needed (even in standby mode, many electronics remain hot).

4. Go for a swim or take a cold shower

It may sound obvious, but it’s worth saying: If you’re hot, cool it off by immersing yourself in cold water. The immediate refreshment works immediately by cooling your core temperature. And unless there’s 100% humidity, the evaporation of water off your skin will further cool you. For a short cut, use water and ice cubes to keep your wrists cool; since your blood vessels are so close the skin there, you’ll feel cooler by applying cold directly to your blood. READ MORE HERE!

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