It’s been said that physical and mental comfort is the hallmark of good architecture. Physically we seek thermal comfort. That would be easy, except for the fact that the temperature and outdoor conditions continually change.
Every summer seems hotter than before. The success of your dream house, therefore, will often depend on what designers call, “climate responsiveness.”
How well does your home adapt to external factors?
Energy is not always dependable, you never know what will happen in the future. That’s why we need to buff up passive methods with no -energy help, rather than energy-consuming active methods like fans and Air conditioners.
What you are aiming for is the ability to:
- Stop internal air temperature go above the level of outside air
- temperature and,
- Maintain a refreshing airflow
These are the two most important things we should aim at in a hot summer.
The application is not that simple, though. You are going to need some creative solutions, many of which will depend on the climate you live in.
Cutting Heat Gain
The first step will be cutting the heat gain. A building gains heat from many ways like from direct solar radiation, radiation of materials (Glass can absorb heat and release into interiors simultaneously).
Excessive heat generated inside the building from users and appliances….etc.
How can you get the heat gain down?
Think about these factors:
- Materials of the building skin
- Heat emitting appliances
Shading is one of the easiest and most practiced methods to cut heat gain. But when you do this, make sure enough amount of daylight comes into the interiors.
Trees are the most frequent solution, but trees can be expensive to buy and maintain. Grapevines are less expensive, and quite hardy, especially if you a little way off the coast. If you enjoy gardening and the “Green Outdoors”, they are a good option.
Make sure to use shading at the openings rather than fixed structures. It will cool the incoming air.
Materials play a vital role. For example dark rough roofs absorb much heat while reflective light color roofs reflect the solar radiation back.
Surprisingly, glass can be a brilliant way of reflecting the heat. We think of glass as great for creating wide open spaces and letting the warm sun in through winter. But glass panel can also be made to be heat deflecting and can reduce the amount of hot air inside the home.
Koala Glass (http://koalaglass.com.au/) are good to speak to about whether this would work for you. They can also cut and install your windows for you. The results can be beautiful, with a sense of space and comfort, along with the cooler temperature.
Heavy and thick wall of concrete can absorb and store heat in the daytime and release that heat in the cold nights creating warm and pleasant interiors.
This is called the act of thermal mass. Considering ventilation, it’s conducted mainly in two ways.
- Cross ventilation
- Stack effect ventilation
Orientating your house’s main and wide openings into the wind direction of summer can be a healthy natural cross ventilation application.
The principle is to think of how air enters and leaves the house easily, not just how it gets in.
Air rises up when warm, and gets collected at the highest levels. Facilitating openings at the highest levels of the house can create an airflow of stack effect. This is what makes shade sails so popular in hotter climates. You can get the shade cloth to fit almost any area and it will offer UV protection while retaining a good amount of air flow.
You can download a good range of shade sail patterns and designs ideas in the image gallery on SE Shade Sails website.
Here are some other useful strategies to Cool your home:
- Create a separate ceiling as an attic and make openings there
- Use reflective skins for the underside of the roofing
- Orientate the wide and main openings in the south and west directions
- Cover glazing from direct solar gain
All of these home improvements will help you adjust and control summer heat, and ensure a cooler, more enjoyable rest at night and enjoyment during the day.