The long heat waves of our tropical country can be quite unforgiving, especially during the dry months. Even if there is air conditioning, it might not be the most budget friendly or the most environmental friendly way to cool your house down. Instead, why not try out these passive and natural ways of cooling your home that is easy to do and helps significantly in keeping the heat out?
- Get new curtains
If your curtains are letting in a lot of light, chances are they are not insulating the interior from heat. Switch them out for insulated ones or even aluminised blinds that reflect the sun’s heat while letting the breeze in, keeping your and your family nice and cool.
- Cross Ventilation
Air naturally moves from a high pressure area to a low pressure area. This is what creates breeze. So opening windows on both sides of the house will create high and low pressure areas respectively on both ends, creating a cross breeze that will draw the heat out.
- White roof
It is conventional wisdom that the colour white reflects heats instead of absorbing it. So if time and budget permits, paint the roof white. If it needs to be retiled anyway, pick lighter coloured or all white tiles. Looks wise, it gives your home a modern futuristic vibe.
What really makes the heatwave unbearable is the humidity. Moisture in the air can trap heat instead of dissipating it. The easiest way to get rid of humidity is to invest in a dehumidifier. It is a low cost gadget that can negate the use of the AC, keeping your expenses down even during the hotter months.
- The Right Upholstery
It is often glossed over, but the material of your furniture’s upholstery can be heat traps as well. If your furniture allows for it, change out the upholstery for fabrics that are thinner and light coloured. Pick those with smooth textures as well, to give an illusion of coolness.
- Go LED
If your house is still running on incandescent bulbs, it’s time to modernise and switch over to LEDs. Incandescent bulbs are cheaper to buy, but they produce a lot of heat which makes them inefficient and short lasting. LEDs are brighter, super energy efficient and produce less heat which makes them a worthy investment in the long term.
- Get plants
Plants are not only great for adding a natural touch to your home decor, but are also great at dissipating heat as well.
Strategically placed plants, shrubs and vines function as living air conditioners and can effectively cool a home. Plant shady trees and plants on east and west sides of the house to block out the sun’s rays.
Growing vines and creepers along staircase balustrades, balcony grills or indoor screens/dividers can also help keep the shaded area beneath them as much as 20 degrees cooler than the surroundings.
A cluttered room feels hot! Remove unwanted curios, furniture, books, newspapers and magazines from the room to make it more airy. Throw open the windows and pack off all your synthetic drapes and thick woolly carpets that look and feel hot. Instead, invest in thin rugs made from jute and hemp that look good and feel great.
Also, replace your centrepiece with one that psychologically creates a feeling of cool calmness. Take a vase, a bowl, or any other glass vessel and fill it with cold water. Next, put in some pretty flowers (or even petals), pebbles, sea shells or even fresh leaves for a whimsical piece of decor that is as summery as it gets!
- Lessen the Load
Most electronics use electricity—and emit heat—even when they are turned off. Unplug electronic equipment when not in use, or use a smart power strip to power off electronics when they are idle and minimise the amount of heat they generate.
“As temperatures rise, most of us resort to keeping our homes cool by using air conditioners. The irony is, while draining our pockets to keep our houses cool, we’re also burning enough fossil fuels, making the world a hotter place”