Temperatures can soar in cities across India during the summer. Battling the crippling heat of the sun can be an expensive affair, the use of fans, coolers & ACs rack up large electricity bills while also having bad environmental effects. You can reduce the need for artificial cooling, says architect Andrew Benn from Benn + Penna Architecture. With a few architectural precautions your house could be a summer friendly haven. The materials & structure of a house can dramatically reduce the temperature of your home. A cooling system is worth the investment but there are measures you can take to minimise running costs.
Here is our list of things to keep in mind while renovation or building a home in a hot climate:
Tracking the sun
When renovating or building, consider the aspect of how the angles of sun rays hit your home. This can a huge factor in keeping your home cool. If the mid-afternoon sun, directly shines into your home, consider attaching blinds or shades to your windows. Curtains are also an option however they are known to disrupt the much need air flow in and out of a home, thus increasing the temperature further.
Place high-level windows under the ceiling line, or create internal atriums or voids that are taller than the overall height of the space. Window treatments such as shutters are a great option to filter out the heat and still keep as much natural light as possible. The addition of Stained glass windows can also help reduce heat along with adding color and character to plain windows.
Fix it with airflow
Make sure you map out the natural wind flow around your home during the summer. Build windows facing these directions to ensure that air has a way in and out of your home. This works as a horizontal airflow cooling system. If possible, adding smaller vents to the ceiling of rooms with lower ventilation can help with vertical airflow, hot air rises and leaves the room through vents in the ceiling
A new innovative method for cooling and heating is the hydronic cooling system. It consists of cool water running through pipes in concrete walls. This is an effective method with dual benefits but requires to be inbuilt when renovating.
Turn to greenery
Plants are some of the best ways to cool the temperature of our house at a low cost and minimal renovation. Potted plants help creating a calming effect as well as naturally absorb heat. A well-shaded line of plants outside on a veranda can keep your space cooler. Deciduous plants can be effective sun shades too. Larger trees can be great to shade large outdoor spaces and help the growth of smaller plants in your yard/garden.
When houses are too hot or too cold, with poor passive design, householders are often forced to buy active heating and cooling to make the house habitable. Passive heating and cooling is any heating or cooling method that requires no energy input either by the house resident or a mechanical device. Heating and cooling systems can often be cheap to buy but very expensive to run. In a house, heating and cooling can account for a high proportion of the household’s total energy use. It’s therefore beneficial financially and health wise to orient your home to be as heat safe as possible