It's hot, humid, muggy, and sticky. We all are well aware global warming is not around the corner IT is here, form the rapidly melting ice cap of Greenland to our ever increased bills for cooling our homes.
After spending a few weeks in one of the hottest zones in the world (and not just because of it's politics), I started to observe that in the Middle East there are some easy, cost effective, green ways to keep cool in our environments. And hey if they even look good - why not try and translate these methods to be used here.
Architecturally the buildings are built differently the roofs are mainly flat, and the use of concrete and Jerusalem stone helps with controlling the temperature inside the home. The stone traps the cool air from the night in the house and keeps the hot air outside. This is aided by opening the windows at night to allow for the cool air to flow in.I know we won't start siding our homes with Jerusalem stone anytime soon, but instead of running our air conditioner on high day and night, try and open the windows during the night, but remember to shut them close in the morning not to let the hot air sneak in.
Which leads me to the subject of shade, we use too little of it and rely on controlling nature with blasting on the AC. If you walk around houses and buildings in New England you'll be sure to notice there are no built-in shades. Yes there are large leafy trees that helps, but trees can reach so high. Most of the buildings in big downtown areas are made from huge dark glass panels creating what is known as Urban Heat Island effect . I don't need to go as far as that to understand the effects this heat has. One look at the dry patches of my lawn has made me realize they are dry and brittle, because of the sun reflected from my neighbor's window. If the windows were covered or some what shaded this would have the double affect of not omitting heat outward and keeping the cool inside the home.
Another long term cooling device that can be easily used in this area is planting trees. It has been found that trees help reduce carbon foot print and will cool your home thus reducing your AC use. Trees always look good and provide for shade. Now with all the money you've saved by reducing your AC use, who knows you might be able to get that dream bathroom renovation done sooner than you thought.
Quick Tip: On hot summer nights try sleeping outdoors in your back yard or even balcony.