Heat waves: our practical, economical and ecological advice to cool down your home
June 2022 saw an intense and early heat wave. Around the Mediterranean area where Geres works, climate change is making precarious households more vulnerable and increasing social inequalities.
Our role is to help them implement energy-saving, more comfortable and environmentally friendly solutions in their homes.
Here are some of our summer tips and testimonials for a cooler home.
Open windows at night and leave them closed during the day with the shutters closed
“If the sun comes to heat your floor during the day, it is equivalent to a radiator for your home” Marie-Maud, Head of the energy and solidarity building programme at Geres.
In summer, if the sun’s rays are allowed to penetrate the house, the floor will store heat and diffuse it into the room, gradually heating the floor and the air. It is therefore important to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, by installing a sunshade, closing the shutters, blinds, or curtains for want of a better word.
Use a fan and/or air blower rather than air conditioning in your home
Did you know? A fan uses ten times less energy than an air conditioner.
Even if the fan does not cool the air, it stirs it and makes people feel cooler by evaporating sweat from the skin. More economical than air conditioning, it is also more ecological. Why is it so? Generally speaking, turning the fan’s propeller uses much less energy than heating or cooling, which is the role of air conditioning.
Fatma, for example, a beneficiary of Geres’ energy advice in Marseille, confided to us this year that air conditioning had contributed to a 390 euro increase in her electricity bill over the year. This is a real cost that can quickly weigh on the budget of the most modest households.
Secondly, air conditioning is dangerous for the planet because it also contributes to warming up cities by releasing heat outside.
The more people use it, the higher the temperatures in urban areas can rise, by up to 2°. Finally, air conditioning contributes to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, in the event of a refrigerant leak for example, and can also cause health risks for people if it is set too cold (around and below 20°C).
Testimony of Manon, beneficiary of Geres solutions in her home in Marseille: “I was installed a ceiling fan that I have been testing since June 3, 2022, since the heat started to be felt early this year: it is super efficient and silent, it changes everything”
However, unlike Manon, if the air in your home is really too hot and it is poorly insulated, unfortunately the fan’s actions will be limited. In this case, if air conditioning is the only solution, we advise you to set the temperature to a maximum of 6 or 8°C below the outside temperature.
Marie-Maud, Energy and Building Programme Manager at Energy, advises cleaning the air conditioning filter once a month to increase the efficiency of the unit by 30%.
Greening the interior near the windows
Plants, if placed together, provide coolness and humidity, which lowers the temperature in your home. If you can, don’t hesitate to add some near your windows or on your balcony/garden: plants create shade and cool the surrounding air by evapo-transpiration.
And enjoy the parks in the summer, you can see the big difference in temperature under a canopy of plants and under the trees.
Use your oven less during the summer season
A real source of heat for your kitchen, the oven helps to warm up your home. Choose summer salads and recipes that do not require heat sources.
Remove carpets from the floor and keep them for the autumn/winter season
Thick rugs are nice for winter, but in summer they help to keep the heat in. If possible, store them in your wardrobe for the summer season. Direct contact with tiles or parquet will then feel cooler.
Do not leave household appliances on standby
Have you ever noticed that your wireless box, computer or television emits heat when it is on standby? If you want to keep your home cooler, make sure you turn them off when you’re not using them. You’ll notice the difference.
For those who can/want to: insulating your home (roof, walls, double glazing) remains the best solution.
Insulation is a bulwark against external heat, as it reduces both heat loss to the outside (in winter) and heat gain in summer. Attic spaces are easy to insulate, for example by unrolling insulation such as hemp or recycled fabric wool, 20-30 cm thick.
Be aware that when the house is well insulated, all the accumulated heat will be more difficult to evacuate through the walls. The following tips are useful to avoid letting in too much heat.
In a nutshell
Saving energy is not just about big, expensive jobs, it’s also about common sense. It’s about small gestures and equipment that can make a difference to your daily comfort, your energy bill and also the planet.
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