People often talk about the various improvements they can make to their heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to extend its lifespan. Sure, you can use a smart thermostat to schedule running cycles, adjust the temperature on the thermostat up a few degrees during summer or down during winter, and so on. You could even invest in several thermostats equipped with zone control technology, so you can leave unoccupied rooms untreated by the HVAC system. However, what about the actions you can take outside of directly adjusting your system? Planting trees is one possible route of action, since the shade produced by the tree will cause less sunlight to hit (and warm) the wall of the house where the sun is shining. Another solution comes from the color scheme of the exterior of the home, as pastel or lighter colors can help deflect sunlight. I know that’s definitely the case, because I used to live in a house that was mostly dark red brick on the outside. Given the dark color and material itself, the bricks absorbed all of the sunlight and turned the house into an oversized pizza oven. One other change that can be made for long-term benefit is to redo the roof shingles, but use light-colored shingles instead of black or dark brown. Like the paint choice, light colored shingles will deflect light more effectively. All of these options are worth considering when pursuing a home improvement project, as they all impact the house and how well it deflects summer heat for years to come!