The summer months are upon us and the mercury is rising. While the heat may seem overwhelming, try some of these eco-friendly ways to keep cool!
Enjoy natural resources. Instead of wasting water jumping through backyard sprinklers or swimming in pools filled with chemicals, take advantage of New Mexico’s natural resources. Kayak, paddle board or float the Rio Grande. Take a swim at Elephant Butte Lake State Park, El Vado Lake State Park, or Lea Lake at Bottomless Lakes State Park. Wakeboard at Navajo Lake State Park. Go cliff jumping at Abiquiu Lake. Scuba dive the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, NM. The possibilities for cool summer fun are seemingly endless!
Build your own backyard pool. Ever heard of the “hillbilly hot tub”? While you probably wouldn’t want to make it into a hot tub when the weather is scorching enough as it is, the new trend of stock tank pools is a great way to beat the heat this summer. The big, steel troughs- originally designed for livestock- are inexpensive farm staples that can easily be turned into a backyard pool above or below ground. If the water is untreated (no chlorine or other chemicals), it can even be used to water the yard after use. Just a quick google search for “stock tank pools” will give you quick instructions for installation.
Decorate with more indoor plants. Did you know that plants can help keep your house cool? If you’re looking for a natural, inexpensive way to keep your energy use and electric bill low, plants such as aloe vera, areca palm trees, ficus, ferns, golden pothos and more are great to keep temperatures down. The plants lose water during transpiration, which cools the surrounding area. It definitely gives a new meaning to “go green!”
Install a green roof. Another natural way to cool your home is to install a green roof. The plants and soil of a green roof effectively add a natural layer of insulation, keeping your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. While an adobe-style house may have the ideal flat roof needed for such a project, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered when planning a green roof, such as how much weight your roof can support. Get a structural engineer to assess your roof for weight bearing and appropriate pitch for water runoff. It is also recommended to have a professional install the green roof for you, as the plant trays are heavy and meant to be installed by a certified contractor.
Get a little circulation going. It may seem like common sense, but let nature do its thing and cool your home down with a little breeze. Open windows in the early morning and late evening to circulate cooler air throughout your home.
Make homemade ice cream. Why get store-bought with mystery ingredients when you can make this deliciously cold sweet treat yourself in a reusable container? You don’t even need electricity, and it’s a great activity to entertain kids. Mix together whole milk, whipping cream, sugar, and any flavorings of your choosing in a 1lb empty coffee can. Seal the lid (duct tape is a good idea) and shake well. Place the coffee can containing the ingredients into a larger can and pack the empty space with ice and rock salt. Seal the lid and roll the can for 10 minutes. (Get the kids to sit in a circle and roll the can back and forth between them.) Open the cans, add desired toppings/mix-ins (chocolate chips, nuts, fruit, etc.), repack the ice and salt, reseal the cans and roll for another 10 minutes. Then scoop out your tasty frozen treat and enjoy!
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