Keeping Cool in a Heatwave

With climate change we expect to have more frequent, more severe heatwaves. 
The 2003 heatwave is estimated to have caused 2,000 deaths in the UK and 35,000 in Europe. So take care, especially if air temperatures go over 30°C.

Cool yourself:

  • Spray or sponge yourself with water; a damp towel round your neck?
  • A cold pack around your neck or under your arm
  • Take a cool shower
  • Cover yourself with loose, thin clothing. Wear a hat and sunglasses outside
  • A fan can help you stay comfortable, without using much electricity
  • Avoid going out or exerting yourself in the heat of the day. Plan ahead with a weather forecast
  • Don’t get dehydrated. Have cold drinks regularly
  • Avoid heat exhaustion See NHS advice `

Shade Your Home:  reduce direct sun on your home, particularly the windows

  • Draw curtains or blinds on windows that let the sun in
  • External Shades are even more effective, stopping the sun reaching your windows. Options include:
    External shutters – traditional in southern Europe for a reason →
    External venetian blinds – can be electrically operated
    Blinds inside double-glazing – can also be magnetically operated
    Awnings: retractable or DIY, to shade windows or a bigger area. Can’t be used if it’s too windy
  • Rooflights angled towards the sun are a problem: Velux windows can have external awning blinds  retro-fitted. Their Internal blinds can help too.  Other rooflight manufacturers have their own blinds
  • Internal curtains or blinds, especially reflective ones, can help reduce the effect of sun coming in a window, but not as well as external shading that keeps it right out.
  • Trees that shade your home really help. Deciduous trees let you benefit from winter sun
  • Solar-control film on window glass reduces the sun’s heat coming in, but it cuts some light too.  You can fix it yourself: See video
  • Low-G glass is good to specify for new or replacement sunny windows. It also lets in much less radiant heat from the sun, with a small reduction in light transmission. Both film and low-G reduce solar gain in the winter too, which could otherwise help warm those rooms.
  • Paint it white – not really shading – but white or light-coloured walls and roofs absorb less heat from the sun. See thermal image in the middle here where a white wall is 7.5°C cooler than an identical plain brick wall.

MORE:   Keeping Cool in a Heatwave – Controlling your home >