How to Make Your Home Summer and Environment FriendlyBy Nirdesh, Ravi Agarwal on Jun 19th, 2019
The Sun is out to get us and we impatiently wait for the scorching summer to recede. But what is, in fact, wiser for nine months of heat a year is to permanently make your homes heat friendly. Air conditioning may keep your indoors cool, but leaving them on 24*7 does not seem like an act of a mindful millennial. Add higher electricity cost to the carbon emission and your heart will also skip a beat. For a more sustainable solution, we would like to introduce you to a more inspired way of living through the summer.
Smart ventilation: Cross ventilation in morning and night can keep your space cooler, at least on good days. Not to forget the much-needed fresh air your upholstery could use to be germ-free.
Tip: You could add traditional wisdom to your modern home by installing jaalis in windows. The age-old Indian vernacular element is a timeless favorite for its ability to block out the Sun but let in the breeze.
Sensible shades: We all know that pulling down the blinds and drawing the curtains keep out the harsh rays of the Sun and prevent cool air from escaping through open windows. What we sometimes forget is to use summer-friendly fabrics and colors. Blinds in lighter tones work well for hot climate and sectional blinds instead of full-length ones can be adjusted as per the requirement.
Tip: Scout your local market for screens made from khus-khus, which is a type of reed or grass that is neatly woven into a mat or blind and hung in the doorways and windows. This is an age-old method to keep your home cool and pleasant inside. The aromatic grass works as a natural cooler when sprinkled with water.
Water bodies for passive cooling: Take the aesthetics a notch higher by something that looks as well as feels good. Water evaporation absorbs heat from the air, making it an ideal set up in courtyards and terraces.
Water bodies like fountains create convectional breezes, which in turn make the home cooler. If making architectural changes is not possible, you can buy a water fountain for the balcony or even go for decorative earthen pots filled with water to create a similar effect.
Tip: Any space where water collects for an extended period requires regular cleaning and maintenance. Stagnant water may draw mosquitoes, so do ensure necessary maintenance.
Add greenery: Plants keep the air around them fresh, thus lowering temperatures. You can grow deciduous greens like peepul or banyan along the boundaries of your home if you live in a house or balconies in case of apartments. These come into leaf in spring and shed their leaves in autumn, thus providing ample shade in summer and allowing maximum sunshine in winter. You can also grow climbing vines in windows or balconies to add that extra calmness of green.
Right furnishing: Use soothing shades and fabrics inside the house to beat summer blues. You can’t binge watch Netflix on a leather couch in summer. Invest in cotton based, linen-like fabrics that are comfortable for your skin on hotter days. White and other lighter shades reflect all wavelengths of light and absorb minimum heat. Black and darker colors, on the contrary, absorb and radiate more heat.
Bare floors: Carpets and rugs can raise the indoor temperature by absorbing and retaining heat. On the other hand, natural stones like marble and granite do not tend to warm up very quickly, making them ideal for tropical climate. Expose the floors to make the most of its coolness.
Tip: If you really want to throw a carpet, go for heat-friendly jute mats instead of rugs. They are also easy to roll up and store.
Switch to LEDs and use minimum lights: Incandescent bulbs and tubes radiate a lot of heat, especially when you are seated close to them. LEDs do not warm up fast or emit too much heat. Less electricity means lower carbon emission and lesser contribution to global warming.
Spending day and night in air conditioned spaces is not just harmful for the environment, but also practically impossible on many occasions. A home should be prepared to welcome pleasant days instead of hiding or spoiling them. A little planning and conscious effort can go a long way in encouraging sustainable living and proximity to a natural environment. Small acts of love can have ripple effects, after all! J