This summer, some Americans are more concerned about their wallets than their comfort—so they’re turning off the air conditioning and putting up with the heat, the New York Times reports. Window air conditioner shipments from manufacturers to distributors dropped 39% the first half of the year versus the first half of 2008; central AC unit shipments have also fallen in recent years.
“There’s a few days where you feel like you’re walking into a wet shower curtain, but it’s amazing how your body will adapt,” says one man who got rid of central air. Those hoping to minimize AC can use strategies like opening and closing windows and shades at the right times. And there are hidden pluses: One family found that all the time spent gathered on the patio meant bonding time and a lesson in how to “live off less.”