Energy Efficient Non-AC Options for Keeping Cool?

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Q: After twelve years in a ground-floor NYC apartment where we never had to use the A/C, we're moving to a top-floor place with loads of sun. Is there some sort of high-tech reflective material that can be sewn to the backs of roman shades to reflect light, like on a car windshield? What about ceiling fans — do models range in efficency? Are there other non-A/C options that I haven't thought of? Would welcome all advice!

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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