Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Don't want to use your A/C this summer? Urban Eco Chic author Oliver Heath offers up these no-sweat ideas to cool down your house.

  • Close your curtains: Cover windows during the day with thick curtains to stop the suns heat soaking into the interior materials.

  • Choose light-blocking blinds: Use black out blinds or silver backed blinds to reflect the suns rays back out from the window.

  • Encourage a breeze: Allow cross ventilation

  • Open skylights: If you have a skylight in the roof, open it to allow warm rising air out. This will be aided if you open a window or door lower down the building, allowing a chimney effect of warm air to be sucked out.

  • Light colors: Use whiter, lighter surfaces for interior furnishings that won’t attract and soak up the heat from the sun as it pours through windows.

  • Filter light: Venetian slatted blinds are a good way to filter light into a space without allowing in the suns rays – making them perfect for office spaces or those that are to be used in the daytime.

To keep your home cool this summer think outside the box - and outside your home.

  • Install slatted screens: The best way to cool down your house from the outside is to stop the suns rays entering the building in the first place, as they transform from light energy to heat as they pass through glass. So use Brise Soleil (slatted screens) overhanging the window to stop the majority of the suns midday strength, from entering.

  • Close your shutters: Stop the suns rays getting through the glass by using shutters fixed to the exterior of the building and keep them closed during the day.

  • Plant trees: Use deciduous trees planted out side your home to cut down on sunlight penetration in the summer (when leaves are present and blocking it) but allow the suns warmth through in the winter when the leave s fall off.
  • Grow vines: Do the same by using natural vegetation (such as climbing or trailing plants) grown over a pergola or similar structure, to cut down on summer sun but allow through warming winter rays.

  • Upgrade to tinted glass: Use technologically advanced solar glass such as high performance tinted glass (which can be blue, grey or green in color) low-e reflective strip glass or reflective coatings to bounce the suns away from entering the building.

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