The intensifying heat has made it feel impossible to function without a cooling system. No one likes the discomfort heat waves bring, many of which have been fatal over the years. While it may seem like you’re just using air conditioning to cool down, experts have cautioned that becoming an air-conditioned society does not address the root of the problem.
In 2021, 98% of heat-related deaths in British Columbia happened indoors, with 1% of victims running their AC at the time. Adam Rysanek, Assistant Professor of Environmental Systems at the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture, shared concern over the emphasis on mechanical ventilation as the predominant solution to heat waves.
As countries across the globe are crippled by the effects of climate change, he called for officials to address the real problem of building structures. The heavy focus on cooling one’s environment is futile if overheating truly stems from building design and performance issues. Consideration of a more futuristic way of landscaping, lighter colored materials, and even shading can make a great difference.
Trees as natural shade will never go out of style and creating canopies around your home can work wonders for evaporative cooling. Not only do trees and vegetation help with cooling, but they help reduce flood risks and as more people plant trees this can foster social hubs within communities.
A study by the British Columbia hydro and power authority in 2020 reported that residents have been tacking on as much as $200 to their summer energy bills, due to air conditioning. As of 2001, the number of residential cooling systems has tripled! With governments aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the unfavorable projections of increased energy usage by 2050 will complicate targets.
What can you do on a smaller scale to cool your home without air conditioning? Here are some suggestions:
You just might have to sacrifice the fresh air at peak heat time, to close your windows. In addition, safeguarding your window from the impact of direct sunlight is another way to create a cooler room. Our Habitat Screens block the sun, keeping your space enjoyable!
During the night and if you catch a cooler morning, open your window for a bit to get ventilation.
You might just have to put a few baking recipes on hold when it’s hot because a 400-degree oven will create some serious heat. Another appliance to avoid is your dryer, which will also make your space warmer.
Now is the time to switch to LED lightbulbs, because incandescent bulbs give off the most heat by wasting 90% of the energy they use.
Humidity has the power to make the heat even more uncomfortable (though it may not seem possible). Luckily you can invest in a dehumidifier to control the thick air on a humid day.
Though you may think that fans create cool air, they just move air around a room. Try placing your fan in the coolest part of your home and angling it to the hottest part to push the warm air out.