You probably immediately reach for the air-conditioning once the mercury rises. However, one part of your brain keeps telling you to bear the heat, and consider the environment and also your wallet.
Don’t worry. There are many simple and energy-saving ways you can keep your house cool during the summer months. Here are some of them:
Also called non-mechanical cooling. Passive cooling is the cheapest way to cool a home both financially and environmentally.
Basically, it regulates heat gain and helps heat to scatter in a home or property through its layout, hence raising indoor temperature and comfort levels using small or even zero energy consumption.
You can design or modify your home in many ways to achieve comfort with passive cooling. There are also hybrid methods that use mechanical cooling units such as timed use of your air-conditioning.
What are the home design elements that power passive cooling?
The climate largely influences the kind of steps you need to apply passive cooling. You’ll have to consider whether you simple cooling is all you need, or you need both cooling and heating systems for the warmer and colder months.
Consider the following to achieve passive cooling:
- Your home’s orientation
- Utilising lighter-hued, reflective roofing materials
- Screening your walls, windows and roofs against direct sunlight
- Creating buffer zones
- Controlling air ventilation
- Taking thermal mass into account
Good insulation is needed to allow a building to resist heat. And the roof is not the only area in your home that needs insulation; there are also the walls, floors, doors and windows.
Naturally, different materials possess different insulating properties. For example, a double brick house will keep heat differently from a brick veneer house.
Also playing a role in encouraging or discouraging heat is the building’s aspect and position in relation to the sun, and other factors such as shade from trees. It is easy to plan a good insulation if you are constructing a property from scratch. However, majority of people cannot afford this.
Here are some inexpensive ways you can insulate your home:
- Use awnings, shutters, louvres or screens to shade your home’s east, north or west facing windows
- Putting up thick blinds or curtains
- Installing a protective tint to glass doors or windows
- Closing gaps to block heat
Open or close?
People do one of two things when the hot weather arrives:
- Open their windows and doors to chase the heat
- Shut them in the early morning to keep heat out
Both actions are right!
Chances are high for a home that is well insulated to benefit from shutting down blinds, windows and doors to keep heat out. But for homes that are poorly insulated, the best way to go is open up and hope to catch a breeze.
You can also bring down the temperature inside your home with the help of roof ventilation. Depending on the type of your home, you might look at putting roof installation and eave vents, or a form of roof whirly bird to help in allowing the hot air to flow out.
Whichever way you go, the smart thing to do when the cool of the southerly breeze arrives is to open up all windows and doors to allow the temperature in your home to drop down naturally overnight.
Reduce heat generating activities
Common sense tells you not to eat roast for dinner if the temperature outside is high. So instead of using the oven, consider an outdoor BBQ.
It seems simple, but limiting the use of heat generating appliances can help resist heat. And it is not just ovens and stoves. Virtually all appliances generate heat, including dishwashers, computers, dryers, TV, lights and more.
Help from other devices
Freestanding or ceilings fans can greatly help in bringing relief during hot weather. Turn them on or use them in tandem with a thermostat controlled air condition.
If your air-conditioner is old consider buying a newer model with energy-efficient features. If it is your first-time getting an air-conditioner ensure that you purchase the right one. For example, note that evaporative is not ideal for a humid environment.
Ensure that you also get the right size for your property, so it isn’t wasting energy cooling it down.
To get the full effect, consider using energy consuming systems like air-conditioners in tandem with passive cooling methods (such as the ones mentioned above) and always keep it properly maintained to ensure its longevity and efficient and economical functions.