In A Summer Of Deadly Heat Passive Cooling Can Keep People Safe And Curb Carbon Emissions Here Are The Simple Steps You Can Take
As the mercury ticked upward in Portland, Ore., last month, I braced for my apartment to become unbearable.
Normally, my un-air-conditioned basement unit would be fine for the Pacific Northwests temperate summers. But these are not normal times. Climate change has lengthened and intensified heat waves, pushing temperatures to unheard-of extremes. In Portland, a new all-time high was set three days in a row: First, 108 degrees. Then 113 degrees. Then 116.
To my astonishment, the apartment stayed tolerable all weekend. The tile floors seemed to emanate coolness. The greenery surrounding my windows blocked direct sunlight and helped bring down the temperature of the outside air. I didnt have a thermometer, but my guess is that the temperature inside never got above 80 degrees.
You saw for yourself the power of passive cooling, buildings scientist Alexandra Rempel told me. It really can be amazingly, amazingly effective.
Rempel, an assistant professor in the environmental studies program at the University of Oregon, studies how to design buildings that can stay cool passively, without relying on air conditioning. The techniques that helped my apartment beat the heat shade, building materials, strategic ventilation can be used in almost any home, she explained.
Buy A Cooling Seat Cover
It doesnt matter how much air makes its way through the windows if your back is baking against a scorching-hot car seat. Keep a cool head, back, and rear with a seat cover like the SNAILAX Cooling Car Seat Cushion with Massage . The seat cover plugs into your cars 12-volt system, and an intake fan at the bottom pushes air through 24 outlets positioned along the cushion to keep your body a little cooler, even if your car’s AC is shot.
Brilliant Ways To Keep Your Home Cool Without Air Conditioning
In warmer months, its tempting to crank the AC or plant yourself in front of the nearest fan. But these arent the only tricks to keeping cool. It turns out there are plenty of ways to buffer your home from the heat without racking up your electric bill. And theyll make you feel like a DIY champ, too.
Keep your cool, and
1. Keep your blinds closed. As simple as this tip may seem, Family Handyman notes that up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows, and utilizing shades, curtains and the like can save you up to 7 percent on bills and lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. In other words, closing the blinds essentially prevents your home from becoming a miniature greenhouse, which is especially the case with south- and west-facing windows.
2. Better yet, invest in blackout curtains. Blackout curtains block sunlight, naturally insulating the rooms in which theyre installed. Consumer Reports recommends neutral-colored curtains with white plastic backings to reduce heat gain by up to 33 percent.
3. Be smart about your doors. Closing off unused rooms will prevent cool air from permeating these areas during the hottest part of the day. Youll want to capitalize on the cooler night hours, too, letting air flow naturally through your home.
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How To Keep Your Car Cool Without Air Conditioning
You may agree with me that the heat nowadays is scorching. This is extremely uncomfortable especially if you are driving without an air conditioner in your vehicle. Due to economic reasonyou are saving petrol, or probably your air conditioner is not working or simply your car does not have one may lead you to seek out alternative means of keep you and your passengers cool.
Its true that cars are great solar heat collectors. They have windows to let the suns energy in, and they have enough mass to keep the heat. We may all have heard the warnings that a car can get so hot, it can kill a dog or small child.
Pushing all this heat out can take lots of AC once the interior of your car heats up. But that can be an expensive and wasteful way to cool your vehicle . The best way to naturally cool your car, is to keep it from getting so hot in the first place.
Use A Windshield Shade
You must have likely seen sunshades in the windows of cars before- maybe with some messages on them. You may even have one yourself.
A car sunshade is usually a piece of folded cardboard or fabric or other material that you put up against the inside of your windshield to keep the sun out. The best ones are the shiny reflective ones, but any of them will make a huge difference.
Leave Your Windows Open A Little
This one may seem obvious, but its surprising how many people dont do this. Leave your windows open a little to let the heat out as it builds up.
Have Some Water And Rag Handy
Shut And Insulate Your Doors
If youre spending most of your time in one room, consider closing the doors to the rooms you arent using as often like bedrooms or bathrooms. Closing off parts of the house keeps the cooler air concentrated in a single area, and can help the room youre using the most cool down faster and stay cool.
If you have doors with gaps at the bottom especially those that lead outside invest in some insulation. Weather strips are an inexpensive option, and you can put them on yourself.
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How To Cool A Van Without Ac
Lets face it, nothing can put a damper on your day more than lots of back sweat or heat exhaustion. When youre overheating, the mere thought of even moving becomes tiring.
Thanks to poor van insulation and a broken AC system, Ive become a master at finding ways to stay cool while living in a van. If youve found an older van that you might buy, but its AC is broken, what should you do? Make amends with van life in hot weather, or drop anywhere from $170 $4,000 to repair its AC system?
even then, AC only helps when youre driving. So how do you stay cool when you arent driving?
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What About The Much More Ordinary Everyday Buildings That Most Of Us Spend The Majority Of Our Time In
We start off with the attitude of how far can we go in designing the building on the assumption that were not going to have AC, says Alisdair McGregor, global leader for mechanical engineering at Arup, who was involved in the buildings design. But its rare to fully climate-control the whole building by that approach, he adds. There might be constraints imposed by a noisy motorway next to a building, making it unfeasible to open the windows. Or the building could have a lot of hot equipment or people with particular needs, such as in a hospital. But at least it means that AC, along with its costs and emissions, is reduced to the bare minimum.
Conventional air conditioning releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming
The California Academy of Sciences is a pinnacle in passive design. But it was also an almost half-billion-dollar project with access to some of the best engineers and architects in sustainable development. What about the much more ordinary, everyday buildings that most of us spend the majority of our time in can passive cooling also make them heatwave-proof?
One of the simplest forms of passive cooling makes use of the temperature change in the air when water evaporates. Water requires energy to go from the liquid state to vapour, and it takes that energy from the air in the form of heat.
The botijo aids in evaporative cooling by allowing water to permeate through its clay walls
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Park In Your Home Garage
Giving a tip to use a home garage as a way to keep your parked car cool may make you think Thanks, Captain Obvious.
But are you always able to park in your garage? And have you noticed how many of your friends and neighbors park full-time in their driveways?
Your garages main purpose is for parking, but a lot of homeowners dont use it for that function. Consider these statistics:
- A home organization study done by Moen found that the garage was the most cluttered space in homes.
- 20% of the 1,500 people who responded to a Garage Living poll said they were unable to park in their garage.
- A third of homeowners with 2-car garages are only able to park one of their cars in it because of clutter.
When youre home, nothing beats garage parking as the best way to keep your parked car cool. Even if you come home and plan to go out in an hour or two, parking in the garage is smarter that staying parked in the sun in your driveway.
Aside from staying cooler, there are plenty of other big benefits to making space in your garage for parking.
The risk of vehicle theft or burglary is significantly reduced and your vehicles will be protected from the exterior elements that can shorten their life. Parking closer to your homes entrance is also more convenient.
Simply parking in your home garage is an obvious solution for keeping your car cool, but something many homeowners are unable to do.
Changing How You Travel
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If You Don’t Have An Air Conditioner Check Out These Creative Ways To Stay Cool All Summer Long
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When the summer sun is beating down, its nice to be able to retreat into an air conditioned home. But if you live in a part of the country where central air hasnt typically been included in houses because the climate there used to be cooler, or if youre having to deal with a power grid strained from extreme energy usage, high temperatures can quickly heat up your house making it uncomfortable and even dangerous. Dont despair, there are ways you can keep your house cool without an air conditioner.
First we should point out just how serious heat-related illness is. It kills more than 600 people in the United States every year, according to the CDC. So, you need to be aware of the signs of heat-related illness and know how to react to protect your health as well as neighbors and loved ones. If the temperature is in the 90s or higher and your house is hot despite efforts to cool it down, the CDC recommends finding a place that has air conditioning and spending a few hours there to cool down.
For times when the situation is less extreme but still uncomfortable, the following tips and hints will help you keep your indoor space cool without air conditioning.
You Touch Pix of EuToch/Shutterstock
Ways To Keep Cool Without Air Conditioning During A Heat Wave
With the summer’s first serious heat wave coming up, there are lots of people offering essential medical advice about the need to avoid lengthy exposure to the sun, dehydration, and even heat stroke.
This is important information, especially when it comes to the most vulnerable segments of our population: seniors, the very young, all pets and other animals, and anyone incapable of fully looking after themselves.
Other than drinking plenty of water, taking cooling baths or showers, and staying out of the sun, are there any other practical steps you can take to keep chill?
Statistics Canada says that 60 percent of all Canadian households had some type of air conditioner in 2017 .
Of those with air conditioning, 70 percent had central air conditioning. Those with “stand-alone” air conditioning made up the other 30 percent of homes “with” .
West Coast households tend to have fewer air-conditioning units because of less seasonal variation in temperatures, a generally cooler climate, and less humidity.
So, if you live in one of the many households without air conditioning, are there ways that people have, historically, kept their cool that can be used today, maybe in conjunction with some simple modern mechanical/electrical means?
So glad you asked.
1. Fans will not cool down rooms, but they are good at cooling down people who sit in their air-movement path. A very old trick is to put some ice in a pan or bowl in front of the fan. It really works .
Easy Ways To Cool A Van Without Ac
1. Plan Your Routes According to Weather
A popular route for van lifers is to head to the Pacific Northwest during the summer months and then migrate towards the southern desert for the winter. This is what I did for my first year and it worked out pretty well, give or take some hot summer days.
But, its no secret that it doesnt make sense to head into the southern desert when its already summertime! The Pacific Northwest stays cooler in the summer months and is very forested, so tree shade is readily available to help keep you cool.
Its helpful to remember that higher altitudes = colder temperatures. So, mountain towns or high coastal regions are great options during the hot season.
2. Shade + Van Orientation
The easiest way to help stay cool is simply parking in the shade. Especially in the desert, parking in the shade can cool a van by ten degrees or more. Consider investing in a big, cheap tarp so you always have instant shade with you.
Orient your van so that windows arent facing the sun. This may require adjusting the van throughout the day, but windows have no insulation and will allow all the suns heat to pour into the van. I also use blackout curtains over my windows if Im not able to orient my van.
3. Windows Cracked + Ceiling Fan
The more air circulation you can create throughout the van, the better. Keep windows cracked to help keep air flowing. Even if its a warm breeze, its still better than no breeze!
4. Doors Open + Mesh Netting
Keep The Windows Closed And Covered
During the hot summer months, the simplest thing you can do to keep a room cool without AC is making sure the windows are shut. For those of us who love the fresh air, this can be a hard sell but trust us, it works. If the air outside is hotter than the air inside, keeping the windows shut will help the inside of your home stay a little cooler.
And because about 76% of sunlight that enters your home through the windows turns into heat, its a good idea to keep your blinds drawn or your curtains closed. The Department of Energy suggests medium-colored drapes with white-plastic backing to reduce heat inside, and some people even opt for blackout curtains to keep windows covered and block the sunlight out completely.
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How Can We Help
Just because your car air conditioner has stopped cooling doesnt mean that all is lost. In fact, the fix may be a relatively inexpensive repair that can be done in just a matter of minutes. We understand that this can be an extremely frustrating thing to happen to your vehicle, so we wanted to equip you with the necessary knowledge to troubleshoot these things on your own if possible.
If youre still having trouble trying to fix these issues yourself though, and youre in the Central Missouri area, then feel free to give us a call or stop by our repair shop. Wed be happy to have our experienced ASE-certified technicians take a look and get you back on the road in no time.
Tips For Cooling A Room Without Ac
- By Mackenzie Born | Last updated March 24, 2021
Summer is upon us, and that can mean seeking refuge from some of the seasons uncomfortably hot weather. If your rental unit doesnt have an air conditioner or if youre just trying your best not to use it around the clock there are still plenty of things you can do to keep your home cool. These DIY methods are some of the best ways to cool a home without the help of air conditioning.
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