Energy · Sustainability · Sustainable living · Uncategorised · Wellbeing

How to defend your home (and yourself) from the heat wave

Yes, we feel it too. People shielding their head from the sun with newspapers, sweating masses on trains and underground, buses turned into human ovens… Global warming, we repeat, you are not welcome.

Before you rush to the shops and buy that air conditioning unit, we have a few tips about how to keep your home cooler. A lot of attention generally goes to energy saving and strategies for the winter months, however the problem of summer overheating is becoming more and more important in the UK.

What can we do in days like these?

1. Close the windows

This might seem counter intuitive. Unless you have a good natural cross ventilation (see below), when you keep your windows open you are letting hot and moist air into your house. Make sure you close your windows from early morning until sunset.

2. Provide shading

Hot countries like Italy and Spain have useful shutters on the outside of windows which provide protection from the hot sun rays. In the UK, shutters are more seldom and usually provided on the inside (therefore more susceptible to some greenhouse effect), however they will still be effective and should be kept closed during the day, especially in the most exposed facades (south, west). Curtains and blinds should also be shut.

3. Natural cross ventilation

Movement of air, when the outside air is cool enough, is recommended. The best effect is obtained when you open windows on opposite sides of the house and there is at least some breeze on the outside. Due to the difference of air pressure on the two opposite sides of the house, a current will form and provide you with relief. This strategy when used at night, also called ‘night cooling’, is a passive sustainable way to cool structures (walls, ceilings etc), therefore dissipating the heat that your home has been holding from the long day of sun exposure.

4. Insulation and trees

More durable measures include External Wall Insulation (EWI), loft insulation, double glazed windows, green roofs and vegetation.

EWI will keep your walls cooler (as well as warmer in winter); double glazing and loft insulation will also provide protection (making sure that the loft itself is well ventilated!).

Green roofs are particularly effective in summer heating, as they are made by thick layers of earth and vegetation.

Finally, if you want to protect your more exposed façade and you have a garden, you could plant some trees which will provide a nice shade during the summer and will lose leaves during winter, letting the more welcome heat in when you need it most.

 

For these and many more insights about your own home, book now your detailed eco survey at www.ecocentric-design.com.

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