More Low-Tech Tips For Keeping Cool


Drayton Hall, Charleston

TreeHugger recently presented our own 10 Overlooked Low-Tech Ways of Keeping Your Home Cool; Over at the National Trust Historic Sites Blog, Barbara Campagna provides another version with a lot of overlap, but some we didn't think of. She writes about how old buildings were designed with techology that kept you cool without fossil fuels:

Traditional and vernacular buildings, constructed before fossil fuels were in widespread use, required active participation of building occupants to manage and control their comfort, health and productivity. The ability to control your environment is enhanced by traditional design elements.

She then lists some of these features and ideas:

window with shutters

Building the Green Modern Home: Looking at Windows
Operable Windows & Shutters: Not only do operable windows allow you to ventilate your building and get fresh air in, the ability to control your own environment positively impacts your frame of mind. Shutters, whether interior or exterior, are not just there to look pretty. They keep the hot sun out during the hot summer day and the cold air out on the cold winter night.

Awnings: Provide shade and insulation and minimize the need for air conditioning.

Courtyards with Natural Cross Ventilation: Tropical and humid environments have effectively been using courtyards for millennia to ventilate, heat and cool buildings.

High Ceilings with Transoms Above Doors: High celings help to move hot air upward (remember, hot air rises and cold air sinks…). Transoms above doors are there to help move the air and ventilate spaces. Ceiling fans are particularly useful in moving the air around and ventilating rooms.


Roofs & Porches with Wide Roof Overhangs: Porches are not just there so you can visit with your neighbors, they also protect the interior spaces from hot sun and cold air. Wide overhangs shield the interior spaces from hot sun.

Good ideas that should be built into all new buildings. Barbara concludes with a call to action:

If you have any of these features and they’ve been closed up or sealed shut, reopen them!!

More in True green: Making Choices About Original Design Features
More on keeping cool with Low Tech:
Keep Cool with Awnings
Be Cool and Plant A Tree
Plant Vines; It is like a second skin for your house.
Tune Your Windows; They are not just holes in the walls.
External Blinds Keep Out the Heat

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