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Keeping Things Cool in the Hot Summer Months


If you live on the Monterey Peninsula, you know how lucky we are to have cool temperatures during the summer months. When it's hot inland, we usually experience fog in the morning, clearing for a few hours during the day, and then a return to fog laden air in the late afternoon. If it's really hot inland, we usually have cloud cover all day. It's a natural air conditioner and many visitors flock to the coast for some much needed relief. We aren't foggy all year. Our winters are beautiful with clear skies and our summer usually happens in September and October when the fog clears and temperatures warm. Our local residents don't have to worry about the high temperatures, but many of you have homes in hotter areas so I thought I'd share some ideas that are used around the world to help keep your home cool in the summer:


External shutters, canopies, awnings and overhangs keep heat out: shades on the interior are less effective as the heat has entered the home already. Window awnings can reduce solar heat gain by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows


To minimize solar gain and keep a space cool, southern European towns and cities have small, windy streets that maximize breeze and shade.


In China, India and Morocco/North Africa, courtyards are used to create enclosed, cool areas.


Riads in Morocco often add water features that can act as natural air-conditioning. Studies have shown that the riad design creates a more comfortable microclimate due to the circulation of air over water — hot air passing over water loses its heat to the liquid, creating a cooling effect — and the use of shade and greenery.


Shade from trees and greenery cool notably too....up to 30%!


Tall ceilings with ceiling vents can draw out hot air that rises.


Walls and roofs painted in light colors absorb less heat.


Technology that times when interior shades are open or closed helps too. New window technology allows instant in-window shading systems that block heat.


Extremely tightly insulated homes can keep them cool using far less energy.


In the Middle East, wind catchers - towers that incorporate a gap or “wind scoop” to suck cool air into the building - are often combined with water to create a more powerful cooling effect.


Asphalt driveways get super-hot. The more you cover areas with plantings, the less they heat up. Some driveways now incorporate greenery.


Walls covered with ivy cool notably too.


Thick, solid walls can keep heat out....and in, during the winter.


Interior sun-blocking and filtering shades help. Cellular shades that 'trap' heat are very effective. The more you block the sun, the less heat effect.


Reflective window film reduces heat absorption by up to 75%.


Source: L. Steinberg Newsletter

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