No air conditioning: simple and natural tips for a cool summer
Did you know? According to the International Energy Agency, air conditioning alone accounts for 10% of global electricity consumption. And that is not its only negative point: it works using coolant fluids that are harmful to the ozone layer and it spits out hot air, further aggravating the urban heat island phenomenon. It’s high time that we learn how to do without it! But how? Here are 5 simple and natural ways of combatting heat, without air conditioning.
1/ Preserve the indoor temperature
We can’t repeat it often enough: take advantage of the night and early morning to ventilate all the rooms and allow the cool of the night to enter, to maximise cooling of the walls and floors. A draught should be created to speed up the cooling process. Do you have an upper floor and/or a roof window? In this case, use the “chimney effect” by opening upstairs and downstairs and leaving doors open, thus creating a bottom-up air flow that proves to be extremely effective. But as soon as the day begins to warm up and the outdoor temperature exceeds that indoors, the only thing to do is to close all the windows and shutters facing the sun until the evening! Some exposed openings do not have blinds or shutters? Close them off with a damp cloth or sheet.
2/ Limit the use of electrical equipment
In the kitchen, avoid cooking with the oven. Use the timer on your dishwasher and washing machine and run them at night. It goes without saying that you can forget the clothes drier when it’s very hot, especially as drying laundry inside the home is a very good way of lowering the indoor temperature owing to the humidity given off!
Around the world, 10 air conditioning units are sold every second. At this rate, there will be nearly 6 billion of them in 2050, or three times more than today!
3/ Beehive cooling
Moisten an earthenware pot in a bowl and position it in a sunny place in the home: as it dries, the earthenware gives off humidity, acting as a natural air conditioner. This simple and natural tip is derived from “beehive cooling”, an ancient method originating from India, which consists in placing dampened earthenware pots in front of the houses, inspired by the cell arrangement in beehives. As it passes through these damp “cones”, the air cools down, until a difference of about 10°C is obtained!
4/ Paint in light colours
By planning ahead, you can protect yourself against the next heatwave by making use of albedo, the reflecting power of a surface, which varies according to its colour. Thus, black and anthracite grey – with an albedo close to zero – which absorb light and heat, are to be avoided. It is better to opt for light colours for outdoor surfaces such as walls, terraces, blinds and roofs.
5/ Plant outdoor spaces
It is well known that concrete and tarmac store heat during the day and then give off this heat at night. It may be time to take a fresh look at your outdoor spaces. Shade trees, climbing plants on walls, or potted plants on terraces and balconies are a barrier to heat. In addition to their other decorative and pollution reduction properties, plants help transfer the water in the soil to the atmosphere (evapotranspiration phenomenon). Go green!