As temperatures soar, there are things you can do to keep your home feeling cooler.
Almost every house we worked on over the past 15 years has achieved an A1 or A2 Building Energy Rating (BER) resulting in very low heating costs in winter. The downside of this can be that these homes become very hot during the summer months.
This is happening throughout Ireland in all recently constructed homes which must have a minimum A2 BER rating.
So how can we stay cool on hot days?
We can learn a few things from what people do in traditionally warmer climates
Here are some suggestions:
- It might seem obvious but ensure that all the heating system controls and thermostats are set properly e.g. that the heating is not still running during warmer weather.
- Limit the “greenhouse” effect. Draw curtains and lower blinds, especially in rooms that are exposed to the sun. Keep bedrooms in the dark during the day. It is amazing the difference it makes.
- Switch off unnecessary heat sources: Chargers, even when they are not charging, devices on stand-by and computers all give off a fair amount of heat – unplug anything that could be an unwanted heat source. This could go as far as not doing any cooking in the oven during hot spells and stick to cold dishes and/or barbecues.
- Turn on your bathroom fans or the exhaust fan in your kitchen. Both pull the hot air that rises after you cook or take a steamy shower out of your house.
- Halogen and incandescent light bulbs emit a lot of heat – switch off the lights you do not really need and replace them with LEDs if you do not already have these.
- Improve ventilation (open windows when outside temperatures are cooler than inside). You have a great opportunity for cross ventilation by opening windows on opposite sides of your home. It might be worth keeping windows open at night when cooler bearing in mind security considerations.
- Close off unused rooms to prevent cool air from permeating these areas during the hottest part of the day. You’ll want to capitalize on the cooler night hours, too, letting air flow naturally through your home.
- Fans can help in the perception of feeling cooler. Fill a mixing bowl with ice (or something equally cold, like an ice pack), and position it at an angle in front of a large fan so the air whips off the ice in an extra-chilled, extra-misty state.
- Change your sheets. Not only does seasonally switching your bedding freshen up a room, but it’s also a great way to keep cool. Cotton is a smarter move in the summer as it breathes easier and stays cooler. Be smart about your clothing choices too – wear looser, natural fabrics.
- Focus on the temperature in your body, not the house. Sip iced drinks (non-alcoholic) to applying a cold cloth to strong-pulsed areas like your neck and wrists, cooling yourself from the inside out is not a bad idea.
- Purchase (€ 150+) or rent a mobile air-conditioning unit
- Install awnings, shade screens, mobile sunscreens, etc. on the south/west facing terrace.
- Grow some wisteria, ivy, or a Virginia creeper on the walls that are exposed to the sun.
- Fit protective films to your windows. They will filter the UV rays and reduce the effect of the sun in living rooms but still let the light in.
- Planting trees and shrubs to increase shade and adding water features to the terrace can help (careful with kids).
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