Design Architecture More Architectural Tricks to Keep Cool Without Air Conditioning By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated October 11, 2018 Migrated Image Share Twitter Pinterest Email Design Tiny Homes Architecture Interior Design Green Design Urban Design Cupola House image credit Wikipedia We have covered many of the old ways of keeping cool, but Matt Grocoff points out another at the Old House Web: Cupolas. He writes: Cupolas are as functional as they are decorative. As warm air rises cupolas allow hot air to escape at the high points in the house while bringing up cooler air from below. They also create a steady air-flow even when there is no breeze outside. In some homes, cupolas provide soft, indirect sunlight that illuminates the home without bringing in the heat. In his discussion of shutters, Grocoff expands on the practice of tuning your window openings, a lost art in the age of air conditioning. In the morning, gable windows on the top floor and basement windows can be opened. This creates a stack effect which exhausts hot air through the top floors and brings up cooled air from the basement. Closing the main floor shutters during the day keeps the main floors cool. The shutters are then opened in the evening to let in the cool night air. In winter, opening the shutters during the day can let the low, warm sunlight into the house. At night, closing the shutters helps keep the warm air inside where it belongs.