Now that the summers are near us, it will be yet another year of more and more buildings installing energy-hungry air conditioners. These are major contributors to climate change. Whether in our homes or offices, air conditioning makes it much easier to work through the summers. Sure, having ACs in your home is great, but even if we keep aside the climatic damages it causes, we can’t ignore that they cost a lot and not everyone can afford them. 

Not to mention that running AC also increases the utility bill, drives up pollution, and makes the outside even hotter. Air conditioning isn’t the only way to get by the summer with ease. Since old times, architecture has always been able to combat the scorching summers. 

There are few methods you can apply to your house that can be way more comforting than air conditioning. 

1. Cool Roofs

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Cool Roof_©Pinterest

Dark colors, especially black, are great heat absorbers. So, it is suggested that for the buildings of places with warmer climates, one should not opt for using any dark colors for their roof. Roof color affects the internal temperature of your home. 

Light-colored roofs reflect away the heat rays from the sun. A highly reflective type of paint can be applied to the roof’s surface. 

2. Porches

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Porches_©southernliving.com

The porches shield the front of your house from sunlight. This not only keeps your house cooler but also avoids the harmful UV rays from getting in. The right positioning of porches not only provides shade in the summer but also encourages cross-ventilation through the house. 

3. Water Elements

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Roof Pond_©houzz.com

Ponds or swimming pools in your house can also cool your house to some extent. Water provides a cooling effect after evaporating. You can install a roof pond in your house. As the water evaporates, it will cool the roof, and the internal temperature of your house will decrease. 

4. Plants and Trees

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04_Plants_©apartmenttherapy.com

A natural and cost-effective way to beat the summers without air conditioning is to enhance the quality of air. It can be done by planting both outdoor and indoor plants. Plants keep your house cool because they lose water during transpiration. 

This phenomenon cools the air around the plants, leaving it purified and fresh. 

5. Cross Ventilation

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Cross Ventilation_©2030palette.org

Cross ventilation is another way to cool your house. By properly providing cross ventilation in your house, you can keep the air from staying still, which will make it stale and warm. 

Moreover, cross ventilation is a great way to keep your indoors fresh. While the hot air moves out from inside, the dust and pollutants also get pushed out.  

6. Windows and Shading

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Windows and Shading_©hammerandhand.com

Windows are a common way to cool buildings. However, the air that directly comes from the window will be just as hot as the outside. Nonetheless, there is a way to keep the heat from entering through the windows. 

You can simply provide good insulation and well-positioned windows.   

7. High Ceilings

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High Ceiling_©houzz.com

High ceilings give more volume to your house for fresh air to circulate. Hot air is lighter than cool air. So, the cool air will always be on below, while the hot air will rise. 

8. Natural Building Materials

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Materials made of stone, bricks, or concrete have high thermal masses. The ability of these materials to absorb heat slowly reduces the temperature of your house. 

9. Thick Earthen Walls

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Thick walls also provide thermal mass in the building, which doesn’t absorb the heat. The thickness and density of the thick walls mean that heat or cold penetration of the wall is very slow. This decreases the internal temperature and makes it stable. This results in keeping the buildings cool in winter and warm in summer. 

10. UV Blocking Glass

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UV Blocking Glass_©windowfilmdepot.com

Normal glasses will let the sunlight in and the harmful UV rays with them. For hot climates, having a window that blocks down the UV rays while cutting down the heat gain will keep your interiors much cooler. 

In old times, special attention was given to cooling techniques while constructing the buildings. Designs like pergolas, overhangs, and large casements, mud houses were widely used to cool down the building, especially in the time of no air conditioning. However, these age-old practices are now being overlooked with the arrival of quick and effortless cooling contraptions. 

However, buildings can no longer be designed without considering how they respond to heat. For example, glass skyscrapers should become obsolete and well-insulated roofs and walls should be used more in hot weather. The electrical appliances should be as energy-efficient as possible. 

Our daily use of appliances such as computers, lighting, televisions, and so on, produce some heat that stays inside the buildings. These should be switched off when not in use. Keeping your house during the summers is a menial task, anyone can do that with proper guidelines.

Author

Tulisha Srivastava is a B.Arch student with a zeal for writing, reading, and traveling. She is an aspiring architect who wants to share her viewpoint with the architecture community. Tulisha has varying interests in the fields, which include historical buildings and the relationship between movies and architecture.

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