The temperatures are rising around the country.
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My tolerance for heat is incredible. I can run around in 98-degree weather and barely break a sweat. "Oh, I'm a little warm," I'll say smugly, looking fresh as a daisy while everyone else is drenched in perspiration.

At least that's how it used to be—until my little house broke me.

I returned from my trip to Turkey to a home with no air conditioning. My friend Eric had removed the only window air conditioning unit in the house when I moved in last winter, because the unit had a fair amount of cold air leaking around it. How hot was it? The thermometer boasted an internal temperature of 94 degrees. I always knew I would install central air someday. That task now moved to the top of my to-do list, displacing unpacking and paying bills. My heat hubris has been reduced to nearly zero.

If you've been following my journey, you know I have been trying to make my home as energy efficient as possible in order to save both money and energy. There are a number of ways to achieve this: a simple energy audit, often provided for free by local utility companies or subsidized by state efficiency programs; and also monitoring devices like the Kill-A-Watt that can help you better understand what activities and appliances are most consumptive—as can this post from a few months ago.

You may not think this information is necessary, but psychological research proves these feedback loops are incredibly useful. Because most of us don't spend our days pondering the electrical grid or thinking about what kind of energy keeps the lights on (50 percent is from dirty coal), information that brings our usage front and center helps us make smarter choices.