Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 99 of our Green Year: Cooling Off In The Car

Whooo! One hundred days of Our Green Year so far! That is a big milestone for us and we are really excited about the next 100 days.

For today, since it is so hot out and since we have already talked about cooling down the house, we are going to talk about cooling down the car. Most people will simply use air conditioning to cool down the car, and while this is not as bad as using it in your house since it does not use the energy grid to power itself, and most air conditioners are made without harmful CFCs now thanks to the Montreal Protocol.
However, it does use your gas to power the air conditioner, it is still not healthy and in the long run, you still do damage to the environment. Thankfully, there are ways to get past the old air conditioner.

First, you can just roll down your windows. Sure it is not as good as the air conditioner, but it uses no energy except the movement of the car, which you are already doing. It does cause some problems with the flow of your car, and it does slow you down slightly, but even doing that means you drive a bit slower, saving fuel.

Second, try and park your car in shaded areas. This will keep it cool and you won't be switching the air conditioner on the minute you get into the car. You will be able to get about 20 minutes of cool driving with the windows down if you park in the shade.

Third, you can keep the interior of your car cool with a car window screen. This will prevent the sun from cooking the inside of the car, and prevent you from resorting to the air conditioner for a little while longer.

Fourth, if at all possible try and limit your errands and car driving to the morning and evening, when it is much cooler out. Driving at noon is just asking for a hot car.

These are just a couple of good ideas for keeping your car cool without the air conditioner. Many will say that the cool shade only works if you can find it, and the windows only cool down the car when it is moving. These are true, and in regards to the second point, why would you have your car idling when you don't need to anyways? The only case where you would do that is at a red light, and that only lasts for about 30 seconds to one minute.
As well, if you are thinking of using air conditioning in the car because you have a dog in the car, then it is probably best not to be taking the dog for a car ride during that hot of a day.

Keeping cool in the car is not that hard, and if it bothers you not to use your air conditioner, well too bad, you should be car pooling, taking public transit or walking anyways