Climate change is real. You can either believe the signs, the environmentalists or in Leonardo DiCaprio who believes in both. Not only is it real, but climate is changing alarmingly fast. Since 2000, temperature records have been broken five times already in India, with 2016 being the hottest year in recorded history at 51 degrees Celsius. As predictions and educated guesses go, this record can be easily challenged by 2017.
Since long scorching summers have become a recurring phenomenon, now is a good time to look to the pre-air conditioning era for solutions. Passive, non-mechanized cooling practices are enduring, cost-effective solutions that reduce the load on cooling appliances. By incorporating the following architectural elements of passivhaus (or passive house) in your home’s design, you can make effectively maximize passive cooling and minimize heat retention.
Basically, here’s how to cool your home without an AC.
Use neutral & bright colors on exteriors
Tucked somewhere in an elementary science book is this little paragraph about bright colors reflecting heat and sunlight. Conversely, dark colors absorb heat. This spring, pick a light palette for the exterior walls, namely white, ivory, beige, light yellows, pale blues or mint greens. Save the darker shades for doors and window frames.
Shade outer walls with eaves, awnings or a jaali
If you thought thick curtains are an effective way to lower temperatures, think again. The key to to a cooler home is to keep the heat from entering the house by shading the outer walls. Large awnings can be used to that effect. If you are building a new house, incorporate extended roofs or eaves into your plans. Another aesthetic element to diffuse sunlight and reduce heat is a jaali or screen. You don’t have imitate intricate stone jaalis of Rajasthani palaces; a simple brick lattice can do the job just as well.
Build thick walls to keep the heat out
Are you building a new home? Then make thick walls a part of your plans. Thick brick walls made of brick and mortar act as super insulators and reduce the amount of heat entering the house, thereby reducing your need for mechanized cooling.
Cross ventilate using windows and doors
A familiar feature to most of us but little thought out. Cross-ventilation is only effective when doors and windows are aligned with wind directions in the summer months. Find out your location’s wind patterns and place windows accordingly.
Create an ‘air stack’ with high ceilings, windows & fans
As air heats inside a house, it rises to the top and is replaced by a cooler, denser air from outside, creating a ‘stack.’ High ceilings take away hot air from the lower, sitting areas of the room. To take full advantage of the stack effect, build windows at an angle to effectively pull in and push out air. Fans can also help in pushing hot air out of the house through a high window. Place stand-up fans facing your ceiling. If you have ceiling fans, fix them to rotate anti-clockwise.
Cool the outside air with pools
As water evaporates, it absorbs the surrounding heat. Water pools not only cool the outside air but add to the aesthetic appeal of a home. Construct shallow water pools in your front and back yards, and if space is a luxury, wide earthen basins can be used to similar effect. However, be sure to have a mechanical or manual system in place to change the water regularly.
Green is the one cool solution for all
If you want more ideas to get a house suited for all weather and also ecologically sound, book an interior decorator from Urban Company!