Here are some tips for house design to beat the summer heat

construction-tips
Planting trees gives good shade around the house.
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It's always important to keep in mind the climate of a place  while constructing buildings. Here are some tips to help keep your house cool in summers.

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Illustration: Amrutha Kishor

» Plant trees for shade around your house. The harshest rays of the sun from mid-day to evening come from the South and West sides of your building. Trees planted in these directions can provide a protective shield. Trees of local species are recommended for the purpose as they help replenish groundwater.

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Illustration: Amrutha Kishor

» Exposed concrete roof creates uncomfortably hot conditions indoors. This is because concrete absorbs heat under the sun and sends it out after the evening when the surroundings are cooler. Install a layer of protective metal sheets or clay tiles above the roof to make indoors cooler.

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Illustration: Amrutha Kishor

» Paint your external walls in a light shades. Walls painted in dark colours absorb more heat compared to lighter colours that reflect the heat from the sun.

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Illustration: Amrutha Kishor

» Open your doors and windows to allow cross ventilation. A proper airflow inside the house coupled with fans can create cooler atmosphere indoors.

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Illustration: Amrutha Kishor

» Avoid using concrete-based flooring to tile open spaces around your house. These tiles, like concrete ceilings, absorb heat from the sun and release it later in the day. This keeps the surroundings of the house hot throughout the day and night.

These tiles also bring down the amount of water that seeps back into the soil during the rain. This impedes groundwater recharge, causing a drastic fall in the water level in wells in the area.

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Illustration: Amrutha Kishor

» Discourage your society from cutting down trees and altering the natural topography of the area. Filling up paddy fields and destroying hills to create flatlands may cripple the natural drainage system and groundwater replenishing pattern in the region. This is a major factor contributing to climate change and calamities such as severe floods, landslides and drought.

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Illustration: Amrutha Kishor

» Avoid excessive use of glazing materials. The excess glass on building facades creates a greenhouse effect and traps heat indoors. Carefully designed sunshades and ventilation can be created to lessen this effect.

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Illustration: Amrutha Kishor

» Promote earth-based masonry such as burnt clay bricks or laterite bricks for construction. Cement blocks are the most commonly used alternative today as they are cheaper. However, for such buildings, the cost for keeping the interiors cool would be far higher than the money saved in construction.

With studies showing a rise in global temperatures in the coming years, extreme weather conditions are expected to be more frequent. Implementing the above-mentioned tips not only makes your house more liveable, but lessens the adverse impacts it may leave on our planet.

(Amrutha Kishor, Elemental Architects, Phone: 6238737592, e-mail: amrutha@elemental-architects.com)

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