O P E N F O R U M
S T A Y I N G C O O L
|The heat wave
of summer has come early this year and has been one of the hottest
in history! Hundreds of people have already fallen ill or died from
heat related health issues. We have learned that people used to stay
cool in their houses by considering the science of air movement when
building houses and communities (Getting Shelter-ed, February 2006).
By using low and high pressure systems within their homes, they
could do without air conditioners. Mud was also a common building
material because of its ability to be warm in the winter and cool in
the summer. But many of these traditional building techniques and
materials are no longer used. And, unfortunately, we aren’t ready to
tear down our houses and rebuild with mud. So what can we do to keep
cool and stay healthy during these hot summer months? Read on...
- Trees planted outside the south
and east facing windows will help block direct sunlight from
entering and heating your house. Deciduous trees will lose their
leaves in the winter allowing the sunlight to reach your house and
help keep it warm during the cold winter months.
- Closing blinds or drawing curtains
on windows that receive direct sunlight during the day will help cut
back on the amount of heat entering the house. Light coloured
curtains will reflect more heat away from your house than dark
- Tinting your windows with
reflective films will help cut down on heat, but will also reflect
heat in the winter time when you might want it.
- Awnings and trellises can help
shade windows, rooms and even one whole side of your house.
Helpful hints on
keeping your house cool this summer!
- An area with plants and/or grass
outside the house, separating it from the street, will help decrease
the temperature. Concrete and asphalt radiate a lot more heat than
plants and soil, even after the sun has gone down.
- Get your community involved in
planting trees. The more trees there are to shade your neighbourhood,
the cooler everyone will be. Daytime temperatures have been found to
be 1.5 to 3.5 degrees cooler in tree shaded neighbourhoods.
- Paint your house. Light colours
reflect more heat than dark colours, painting your house white will
reflect more heat from the whole house.
- Make sure your house is well
insulated. A well-insulated house keeps the hot air in during winter
and the cool air in during summer.
- Make sure gaps under doors and
around windows are sealed and holes in walls are patched. Weather
stripping and caulking will stop your cool air from escaping.
- Shading the area around your air
conditioner compressor will help it run more efficiently, cutting
down on your electric bill.
- Turning off your computer monitor,
TV, and DVD player while they are not in use will cut down on the
amount of heat being produced inside.
- Use a ceiling fan to keep air
moving. Air movement of just one mph will make you feel two or three
I hope some of
these tips will not only keep your house cooler but help you cut
down on your electricity bills!