Sunday, July 23, 2006

It's hot ... here's how to cool off w/o using lots of energy

We're having a heck of a heat wave this summer. I live in the SF Bay Area and the temperatures are moderated a bit by the ocean. But yesterday it was over 100 where I live, which is an outrageous temperature. I know, I know, 100 isn't so outrageous in other parts of the U.S. but in the SF Bay Area our climate is highly moderated by the ocean. Usually severe winter or summer weather is but a rumor we hear about from friends in other parts of the country.

And I was reading that England is also seeing 100 degree weather. That they were expected to set an all time high temperature. And that it's the second time in the last three years that England is recording an all time high temperature.

Anybody doubt about Global Warming?

Anyway ... this is supposed to be about keeping cool. One reason I wanted to live in the SF Bay Area is the climate. I read in a "Places Rated" book that here in the Bay Area we have a low percentage of air conditioners installed in houses. Obviously that's climate related, and any place that doesn't have the people using air conditioning has got to be relatively cool in the summer.

And, indeed, that's what we have. Usually we have moderate temperatures in the summer with only a few days where we wish we had air conditioners.

Here's a few ideas I've collected about keeping cool without using a lot of power. Air conditioners use a lot of power, and if you want to live sustainably it's worth considering other ways of keeping cool without using air conditioning.

Attic fans work to exhaust hot air from your attic. The attic is like global warming on a miniature scale. Your roof is probably black color and is probably exposed to the sun, and therefore absorbs heat that's transmitted into the attic. The attic then sends that heat into the house. But an attic fan turns on when the temperature is high, draws the air out of the attic, reducing that effect.

Keep the windows open at night when it's cool, use fans to draw air into the house at night, and then shut the windows during the day. The idea is to capture cool air and keep it as long as you can during the day.

wiki how has some tips on keeping cool

For example .. aim a fan so it blows over the top of a bucket of ice. This will work better when the humidity is low. It's a similar idea to the swamp coolers they use in the desert.

Take a cool shower .. cover yourself with a cool cloth .. wear socks that have been soaked in cool water ..

The general idea is to use evaporative cooling.


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