Energy Saving Strategies Of Cooling Down The Home
Most do not want to be caught flat-footed when the heat of summer comes around. The conventional response of most homeowners it to turn up the AC and buy cold drinks to help everyone stay chilled. However, a better response is to make fundamental modifications to the house that can both reduce its energy dependence during the summer months that are most expensive for electricity as well as cool down the house. An alternative is to use unattached shades like steel or iron gazebos but we leave that to another article.
We discuss three methods of modifying the house for cooling purposes. The first is to install outdoor shades to the house most often as a canopy or window awning. Such shades help create more usable space outside the home but also cut down on the light that enters the house. By cutting down the light that enters, homeowners reduce the “greenhouse” effect which is essentially the warming up of the house due to trapped light energy.
We discuss the two major kinds of outdoor shades that are found in homes: awnings (that can be retractable or fixed) and canopies (which overlap somewhat with pergolas).
Canopies are tent-like structures. The layout of a canopy can be boiled down into the shading cloth and the sturdy skeleton that supports the cloth. The shade fabric invariably is stretched over the roofing to block out direct sunlight but the side-walls are more variable, a choice that depends on whether a canopy owner wants to give up a little privacy for good circulation.
Awnings are a familiar thing to see for most people who have taken a walk on a sidewalk arrayed with retail establishments. They are the fixed-structure shades that shield store entry ways and windows. Awnings for private residential use have evolved far beyond classic immobile and one-piece shade cloth configuration. Modern awnings retract by themselves in dangerous winds, are powered by motors and controlled remotely.
The outdoor shades discussed here are only a limited sampling. Other types like the bamboo roll-up blinds which are fitted onto the exterior of a window can give some of the same energy-saving benefits but are limited in the respect that they do not add usable space to the house.
The second big modification that works wonders in dry climates like Arizona, Texas or other Southern parts of the United States is the outdoor water mister. The mister sends a fine stream of particulate water into the air which evaporates in the climate. Because evaporation draws in heat energy, the overall effect is to reduce the ambient temperature. This is known as evaporative cooling and is the reason why humans can keep cool by sweating.
The third big modification that complements both of these is the addition of the outdoor fan. The outdoor fan is a heavy duty version of its indoor cousin. The primary difference is that it runs off greater power and can drive large air movement in the exterior of the house. Such fans are perfect for both shaded areas, as well as areas that are already being cooled by outdoor misters. Movement of air aids in evaporation which speeds up the cooling effect of the mister.