Natural air conditioning

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Natural Airconditioning, or maintainig a comfortable temperature within a house or building without the use of an energy source, has three basic components --

  1. Blocking the Heat, using insulation, reflective barriers and shading through verandahs.
  2. Removing Interior Heat through vents, ceiling fans and chimneys.
  3. Reducing Heat Sources by switching off unnecessary bulbs, switching to microwave ovens etc.
Being energy efficient is economical in more ways than one. It cuts down utility bills, it reduces the usage of expensive fossil fuel energy which reduces one's impact on your environment. One of the most important principles of an energy efficient home is to keep the house or building air sealed. Air sealing prevents the flow of heat from outside to inside and vice versa. Also, it is important to increase the amount of insulation in various places in the home. Insulation, in its many forms, helps stop the transfer of heat from one place to another. A good example of this is the insulation in the attic. A thick layer of insulation helps stop heat flow from the house to the attic during the winter. In the summer, that same insulation helps stop heat transfer from the hot attic to the rooms below.
Verandahs keep the house cooler, naturally


Contents

Natural Heat Blocking Tips

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  • Weatherstrip all windows and doorways. Add door sweeps beneath doors for added insulation. Insulating the attic or top floor is the best way to reduce heat exposure.
  • Install inexpensive heat-reflecting film on windows that face the sun. This will keep the house cooler and reduce glare and ultraviolet rays that damage furniture and floors. For hot climates, sun-control types are most effective, but be aware that they will reduce the amount of light that comes in through the windows. In climates where cold seasons are also a problem, choose a combination film (but do not apply it to south-facing windows if you want rooms to benefit from the sun's warmth during the winter).
  • Reduce heat gain by pulling drapes or shades, and use shelters to prevent direct sunlight from streaming in through windows on the south and west-facing sides of the house. Overhangs, patio overheads, latticework, awnings work well.
  • Allow creepers to climb your exterior walls, especially if they are sun-facing. The foliage provides a natural green cover, as well as insulation against the heat.

Removing Internal Heat

  • Unless absolutely essential, keep incandescent lights and heat-generating appliances turned off.
  • Keep the air in the room moving. Places fans throughout the room and turn ceiling fans on high. The little breeze will make it feel cooler.

Minimising Heat Sources

  • About a third of the unwanted heat that builds up in a home comes in through the roof. This is hard to control with traditional roofing materials. For example, unlike most light-colored surfaces, even white asphalt and fiberglass shingles absorb 70% of the solar radiation. Using natural tiles like adobe or terracotta helps.

One good solution is to apply a reflective coating to your existing roof.

  • Cut back the transfer of heat through the roof and walls.
  • Plant trees, large bushes, and vines to provide shade and cooling evaporation--choose deciduous varieties if one wants to allow the sunlight to warm the house during the winter.
  • Cut back on cooking on those hot days. A natural fresh diet that needs no or little cooking will keep the house cool by minimising the heat from the stove, will keep one cool, but it may also promote better eating habits.
  • Use less heat! Appliances such as the oven, dishwasher, lamps, and even thetelevision set create heat. Use them only when absolutely necessary.

DIY Tips

  • If there are rooms in the house that aren't being used, shutting the doors to those rooms results in an overall reduction in the amount of area that the heating and air-conditioning systems have to heat and cool.
  • If one has a box fan, one can try a little homemade air conditioning. Set the tub of ice water behind the fan and wait. The cool air will be pulled away from the tub and cool down the home.
  • Spray the curtains with water. When air filters through wet curtains, it will cool down.
  • Make paper fans! One can use poster board, cardboard, construction paper or even newspaper to make fans that will keep the kids busy ... and cool.

References

  • Tips for Natural Cooling
  • How to Make Your Own Air Conditioner
  • Energy Saving Tips