Here are some ideas on passive cooling your home to reduce your need to turn on the air conditioning.
Quick Tricks to Reduce the Heat in Your Home
Keep Your Blinds Closed
This very simple tip can lower indoor temperatures by up to 10ºC. Up to 30% of unwanted heat comes from your windows, especially those windows facing south and west. By utilising shades, curtains you can prevent your house from becoming a miniature greenhouse.
Create a Thermal Chimney
Open the lowest windows on the side from where the breeze is coming. Leave interior doors open, and open the upstairs windows on the opposite side of the house. The warm air in your house will draw upwards and out the upper window, an effect called ‘thermal siphoning’. This is most effective when the inside temperature is higher than the outside temperature.
Create a Faux Sea Breeze
Fill a mixing bowl with ice or ice packs and position it an an angle in front of a large fan so the fan blows over the ice. The breeze from the fan will be extra cooling and feel like an ocean breeze.
Longer Term Heat Reduction Solutions
Insulating, caulking and weatherstripping are essential to keeping your home warm in cold climates, but they also help keep your home cool in hot weather. The attics of most homes absorb heat through the roof, and insulating the attic floor will keep this heat from radiating down into the house. Fiberglass insulation, at least R-30, is easy to install. The cost will be recouped quickly in lower energy bills throughout the year.
Trees, vines and shrubs can be used to shade your home and reduce your energy bills. Trees or shrubs can also be planted to shade air conditioning units, but they should not block the airflow.
Rock walls, paved areas and rock features should be kept to a minimum on south and west sides of the home, because they increase temperatures by radiating heat.
An important consideration in passive cooling is house colour. Dark-coloured home exteriors absorb 70% to 90% of the radiant energy from the sun that strikes the home’s surfaces. Some of this absorbed energy is transferred into your home by way of conduction, resulting in heat gain. In contrast, light-coloured surfaces effectively reflect most of the heat away from your home.