Ten years ago, I installed central air conditioning in my old house, but the south bedrooms were still too steamy. I thought about reworking the duct system to pump in more cold air, but tried something simpler first: I built these simple shutters to block out the afternoon sun. It worked—those rooms now stay comfortably cool.
According to energy experts, reducing sunlight through south and west windows is one of the best ways to cut cooling costs. (They estimate 7 percent savings, on average.) Aside from the usual options like shutters, shades and curtains, also consider window film, which is easy to apply and blocks heat but lets in light.
— Gary Wentz, Senior Editor