The Basement - a cool place in the summer
In the heat of the summer, move your operation to the basement.
It's a simple technique that can work well to beat the heat. Whether you live in a dry or humid climate, going downstairs means staying where cool air naturally collects.
"Below deck" you'll enjoy much cooler temperatures without the need for air conditioning. By it's very nature, your downstairs area is below ground level, so it enjoys natural ground source cooling.
The more bare concrete or cinder block walls you have, the cooler it will be. In any event, you won't experience the temperature swings that you will upstairs.
So, if you're interested in staying cool without air conditioning, it might be a good idea to get that unfinished downstairs turned into something that's more comfortable and enjoyable to be in.
It doesn't have to be lavish, just something that suits your purpose. If you have dirt floors, it would be appropriate to consider something that has a more permanent look and feel to it. You could pour concrete or use paving blocks as an alternative.
Whatever you decide to do, just make it a comfortable place. It doesn't have to be a palace. You might only use it during the heat of the day, so don't go overboard with improvements if you're just going to use it as a retreat from the dog days of summer.
My downstairs is unfinished, but it's comfortable enough for an exercise room, an area for watching movies, an office and a craft room. None of these areas will ever make Better Homes and Gardens magazine, but they work just fine for me and my approach to frugal living, and that's all that matters.
If you don't like the idea of going downstairs to retreat, you might think about bringing basement air upstairs where you're at.
Done with Basement, back to Ways to Save Energy