KEEPING YOUR SPACE COOL IN SUMMERS
While Pre-Monsoon activity may be gaining momentum across India but the heat is still being felt in most parts. Temperature in major cities of India has crossed 42°C in the first half of April and the Indian summer is only starting to take its toll
So how do you learn to keep it ‘cool’? How do you protect your ‘home sweet home’ from the sweltering heat outside? There are numerous options to choose from but your focus must stay on the most effective ones. One such option is making basic changes inside and outside your house. Redoing parts of your house can be really effective in dealing with Indian summers or summers in general. Let’s take a look at few such steps
First let’s understand how our building gets heated during summers. It is all basic science that we learned in our primary school.
There are 2 major heat receptors in a building-
Depending upon the face of the wall (South receiving the most heat from the sun and North receiving the least) heat transfer occurs through direct heating. The internal air in the room gets heated through adsorption and radiation. If this hot air gets stagnated inside the room, it gets unpleasant and hot.
The roof receives direct heat from the sun. Depending upon the material, (here I am assuming concrete, since most buildings in Delhi are made of this material) it takes in the heat and radiates it to the lower floors. The air in the lower floor gets heated up and transfers it to the slab below. This process continues till the heat hits the ground (which is an insulator). This is why the top floor feels so much hotter than the ground floor, because during the process of transfer, a lot of heat is lost.
Other than this, a building can also feel uneasy and hot due to the following reasons:
– Heating and cooling device– Wrong position refrigerators, AC etc, can also lead to heating of the building.
– Closed windows & Lack of cross ventilation– Cross ventilation allows the stagnant hot air to be replenished and keeps the fresh air circulated throughout the building
– Presence of dark colours– Dark coloured walls, sheets and furniture inside the house can further lead to absorption of heat
– Clutter– Too many heavy furniture kept close to each other can create ‘hot air pockets’. Any kind of clutter in the house traps the hot air, and it becomes stagnant.
The long, hot summers of India are quite unforgiving and you can’t survive the hot and humid months without the blessed air conditioners. But this option is neither budget-friendly, nor environment-friendly. Plus, it’s not very healthy to breathe the dry and recycled air pushed in by the air conditioners.
So is there an alternative, do you wonder? Because one can’t possible swelter in the heat and still manage to lead a decently productive life. We agree. And that’s why we have listed here natural ways to keep your house cool without depending on artificial cooling machines. That sounds holistic, doesn’t it? Now let us take a look.
– Cross-ventilate. If it’s windy outside, you can create a breeze inside your home by strategically opening your windows. When the wind blows against a building, it creates a high-pressure area on the side where it hits and a low-pressure area on the opposite side. As the wind naturally moves from the high pressure area to the low pressure one, opening the windows on both sides of your home will allow the air to move through the house, creating a breeze.
Keep as many windows/ ventilators open as possible, during early mornings and late evenings. Around 5 am- 8 am and 7 pm- 10 pm. During this time of the day, the air gets replenished without all the harsh heat from the sun. Do not forget to put mosquito nets on them, Maximum Cities are quite prone to insects in the summers.
– Growing plants on the terrace and balcony– The mud used to grow plants acts as an insulator, absorbing the direct heat from sun, thereby keeping the slab cool. Using plastic gardening sheets will also help in preventing any kind of water leakage.
– Manage your appliances– While opening the refrigerator door for a cool blast of air sounds good and may cool you off for a short while, it’s actually counterproductive when it comes to cooling off your home. The motor in the refrigerator needs to work harder to maintain a constant temperature and ends up generating more heat. Incandescent light bulbs also create heat. So switch to compact fluorescents or LEDs. Turn off your lamps and computers when you are not using them. You should also turn off your TV since it emits a lot of heat. And the same goes for some plug-in power adapters
– Be smart with your landscaping. Strategically placed trees, shrubs and vines can easily cool a home. Plant shady trees and shrubs on east and west sides to block the sun. Grow vines up the sidewalls to shade them from the hot sunshine. Also plant leafy groundcovers to cool the area around your home.
Window planters are growing in terms of popularity in India. But their importance is not limited to aesthetics alone. Plants on your window ledge also help humidify the dry air flowing in and around your house. Moreover, bright colors and fancy designs also make your window look attractive.
– Say No to Incandescent Bulbs
Although CFL and LED lights have taken over the market, some people still tend to use incandescent light bulbs. There are others who use it for the sepia shade which the bulbs shed out. But incandescent lights should not be used, at least during summer. Not only do they consume more power and add to your electricity bills, they also radiate heat in small amounts. If an incandescent bulb is on for an hour then you can safely blame it for the heat in the room.
– Be strategic with room fans. If you thought fans are there for blowing the hot air around, think again! Point the box fans out towards the windows, so that they can push the hot air out. Also, adjust the ceiling fan settings, so that the blades run counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up and out instead of just twirling it around the room.
– BAMBOO BLINDS
BAMBOO POSSESSES HEAT RESISTANCE POWER AND IS USED EXTENSIVELY ACROSS INDIA FOR VARIOUS PURPOSES. BAMBOO BLINDS CAN BE INSTALLED ON YOUR WINDOWS AND DOORWAYS TO KEEP THE HEAT OUTSIDE FROM ENTERING YOUR HOUSE. DURING AFTERNOON, WHEN THE SUN SHINES BRIGHTLY UPON YOUR WINDOW, A MICRO GREENHOUSE EFFECT TAKES PLACE IN YOUR HOUSE WHICH CONVERTS IT INTO A HOT BOX. IF YOU DON’T WISH TO OPEN YOUR WINDOWS, YOU CAN SIMPLY USE BAMBOO BLINDS WHICH WILL ALSO ADD STYLE TO YOUR OUTER FAÇADE.
– Paint your roof white
Another simple yet extremely effective way of preventing your roof from heating up is by using white lime on the surface of the roof. White as a color reflects heat and that is why clothes with lighter shades are advised during summer. The same phenomenon works on your roof too. You apply a thick layer of white lime wash and you are simply reflecting most of the heat. But every time it rains, the white lime layer washes away and hence needs to be re-applied . In much the same way the ice/snow reflects UV rays instead of absorbing the heat like the oceans do, cities are now giving white roofs a second look for cooling homes and fighting climate change. So paint your terrace and roof white to reflect heat.
– Water bodies
Keep interesting pots of water around the house. Set one bowl of ice-cold water in front of a moving fan. Add some fresh flowers or colour pebbles. Putting some ice in water bowl or a frozen water bottle near the window where breeze is blowing gets makes the room cooler.