Use Natural Cycles and Breezeways to Cool Your Home
In my last blog I talked about ways of adding shade to the outside of your home. If you are lucky enough to design your own home, it makes sense to design with shade in mind. If not, no problem, becuase many of the options discussed in the blog, can be added on after the house is built.
Today I look at a completely free method of keeping your home cool.
The greenest way to keep your house cool in summer is to simply close up your home during the heat of the day, and open it at night. This works best if you have shade outside your home too, but it will still help even if you don’t.
- As soon as it starts to get hot outside, close all your windows and doors. If you don’t have shade outside sunny windows, close thick curtains or drapes inside the windows. If you are going to be out of the house all day, close up before you leave.
- As soon as the sun passes, open the curtains and the windows and doors to allow cool air to come in and ventilate your home. Use certain windows to create breezes (more on breezes below), and if necessary use a fan to increase air movement.
(You may need screens on your windows and doors to prevent bugs.) Arrange furniture and drapes so they don’t restrict airflow. If you have operable skylights or high windows, open them to let out super-heated air and create convection currents.
Create a refreshing breeze to cool your home
Once it is time to open your windows again, try to open windows and doors on both sides of your home (e.g. end-to-end or side-to-side) – this will allow the air to move through your house, creating a cool breeze throughout the house. It helps if you know what direction the wind near your home usually blows.
Sometimes, however, there will only be a weak breeze, or none at all. In these circumstances, use an electric fan as well.
Use fans to cool you even more
Moving air evaporates moisture from your skin and keeps you feeling cooler. Fans can save you money since they operate at a fraction of the cost of air-conditioning units – and they can work in tandem with your A/C if soaring temperatures have you sweating it out.
Once you’ve created breezeways in your house (above), you can enhance the effect if required with fans. Even small, inexpensive table-top fans can really whip the air around. Placing one facing in by the window where air is coming in, and one at an opposite window positioned to blow warm air out, can create a nice “wind tunnel” effect in pulling air through the house.
Tip: For an extra cool breeze, place a frozen water bottle in front of the fan.
Make good use of all types of fans – ceiling fans, box fans, attic fans. Adjust your ceiling fans’ blades so that the leading edge is higher, which will circulate cool air. Attic fans can also pull in cooler air from outside.
In the beginning you will want to experiment to find the right combination for your own particular situation, which is influenced by the design and construction of your dwelling and its micro-climate.
Of course, air conditioning is more convenient and more controllable, but these methods have been used for centuries around the world. They do work, and they will save you money and reduce your demand for energy.
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