Although this year’s winter is going to be a cold one, it’s difficult to forget the sweltering heat that is increasingly becoming the norm during summer. According to the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, the summer of 2019 is the 12th hottest since 1910. Last July, the UK also recorded its highest temperature ever at 38.7 °C.
It might be getting cooler now, but how will you cope with the inevitable heat of the incoming summers? Like the hot weather, air-conditioning is not really common in UK homes. Apart from the ice fans, frozen water bottles, and cotton sheets that are popular suggestions in other articles, here are more long-lasting solutions for the coming hotter days.
Insulate Your Home
Air-conditioning units are easy and comfortable. However, besides raising energy costs, these units release the heat elsewhere, and in a concrete-filled urban setting, they actually contribute to the overall heating of the area.
Insulation is not only for reducing heat loss and energy costs during cold months. It also provides protection from the heat. Foil insulation on roofs can bounce the hot weather away during summer. Multilayer insulation in walls can slow the movement of heat as well.
Install Window Film
Window films are adhesive films that essentially block UV rays. They work better than blinds in that regard, while also being the cheaper option. As a bonus, window films add privacy to your home.
There are many products that are DIY, but if you’re not confident you can do a seamless job of installing them, you may want to hire window film specialists to put them in for you.
Maintain Green Space or a Garden
Adding a plant or two in the house will definitely help in preventing rooms from feeling stuffy. For more dramatic results, maintaining a garden will give your house and your neighbourhood a cooling effect. According to the World Health Organisation, green spaces, even small ones, help reduce the heat island effect common in urban areas.
Use White Paint
Because the colour white reflects light, painting it on roofs and walls effectively reduces the temperature of the building. Research in Ahmedabad City in western India, found that white-painted roofs kept temperatures lower indoors by 2 °C to 5 °C.
Build an Outdoor Kitchen
During the summer, making elaborate dishes indoors can raise the temperature of the whole house. Go for outdoor meals like barbecues, or consider investing in an outdoor kitchen.
As a general rule, more light equals more heat. If you have windows or doorways exposed to direct sunlight during certain times of the day, installing awnings may be a cheap and simple but effective way to keep cool.
Use LED light bulbs
Ideally, you maximise the natural light that comes with the longer days of summer. However, if you must absolutely turn on the lights, make sure you are using LED bulbs. As opposed to their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts, LEDs use less power, which means they generate less heat.
These measures may not be the cheapest out there, but their value proposition is anchored on the fact that they are long-term and sustainable. And with the rate the average temperatures are rising, solutions need longevity and sustainability more than ever.