Natural Air

Natural Air Conditioning - save energy, stay cool with these tips.

Natural Air Conditioning - Part 1

Follow These Tips to Cool Your Home In An Eco-Friendly Manner

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In this Natural Air Conditioning Guide we will discuss ways to minimize or even eliminate your air-conditioning needs. Follow these easy to implement steps to a cooler and much more energy efficient home.

Keep in mind that you don't need to implement all of these measures to minimize your air-conditioning needs, but the more of them you utilize, the more energy you will save.

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Keep your Attic Ventilated

Natural Air Condition Tip 1:
Ventilate Your Attic Spaces:

Make sure that you not only ventilate your attic, but make sure it is ventilated adequately as well. With the push for super-insulation in the last few decades, we have had problems develop in other areas. One of these areas in the ventilation of our structures.

As homes become tighter, more moisture is held inside, and along with that with the complicated roof forms many homes now have, and the more prevalent use of cathedral ceilings. Attic ventilation has lost the attention it deserves, giving us ice problems and moisture issues.

To learn more about Attic Ventilation, read this article where we dive into the problems and solutions of getting more air-flow in your attic. You will also learn how to deal with Ice Dams and moisture entering you structure.

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers), calls for a minimum ventilation of 1 sq. ft. free ventilation for each 300 square feet of attic space. Read that as a minimum and you will want to probably exceed that requirement.

If your roof has no icicles in the winter, you may not need to be concerned with this article. If you do, you should add ventilation to your attic space. That can be by means of soffit vents. gable vents, ridge vents and power ventilation systems. Ventilation is essential to carry away moisture and warm air. This goes for the summer months too.

If you have a buildup of superheated air in your attic or cathedral ceiling space you must get rid of it. It just radiates into the living spaces below.

Metal Roofing Is Very Reflective

Metal Roofing Is Very Reflective

Natural Air Conditioning Tip 2:
Use Light Colored Roofing Materials:

If you use flat roofs utilize a white membrane for your roofing materials. If you use shingles, utilize the lightest color you can find.

Check the emissive values and the reflectivity of the materials you choose. You try to have an Albedo rating of around 29 for a low slope roof application and 79 for a steeper pitch > 2:12. Many metal roofing companies are provide highly reflective surfaces on their roofing materials now as are the tile companies.

To learn more about light colored room materials read are article on Heat Island Effect. We will give to tips on different materials to use and how they will affect your home environment.

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Light Colored Drive - Well Shaded

Light Colored Drive - Well Shaded

Natural Air Conditioning Tip 3:
Use Light Colored Pavement Materials:

If you have a choice between asphalt and concrete, go with the concrete for your driveways and walk - patio areas. To go a step farther, put a whitener additive in the concrete mix to boost the reflectivity of the concrete. Did you ever try walking on asphalt pavement in the middle of the summer at midday? It gets so hot you can't stay on it very long at all.

All of this heat is being radiated into the atmosphere and around our home's micro climate. This heats up our interior spaces. As the prevailing winds blow across these surfaces and reach our homes windows, it rises in temperature by more than a few degrees. Keep the wind temperature as low as you can by using highly reflective pavements and patio coverings.

Discover many more methods to lower your home air temperature by using these tips plus new technologies that are now available to the consumer. It is all in our article on Heat Island Effect.

Shade Your Glass With Large Overhangs

Shade Your Glass With Large Overhangs

Natural Air Conditioning Tip 4:
Provide Generous Overhangs At All Window Openings:

In this natural air conditioning tip you should give plenty of shade to all window areas of your home. Even the highest efficiency windows available should still be shaded from as much direct sun as possible. The amount of overhang will depend on the home's orientation and the sun angles, but give special consideration to windows on the east and west sun exposures.

Normally a 24" overhang is not nearly enough for shading purposes, especially if the head of the window is down a foot or two from the bottom of the soffit. You get practically zero shading effect from this type of overhang.

Southern exposures aren't quite as critical because of the higher sun angles during the mid-summer months. Go for at least a 36" overhang, and if you are feeling really adventurous, go with a 48" overhang.

Living Roofs Are Very Eco Friendly

Living Roofs Are Very Eco Friendly

Natural Air Conditioning Tip 5:
Give Your Roof Some Life

Interested in being adventurous? How about the installation of a green or "living" roof on all or part of your home? Technologies for green roofs have taken incredible strides over the past several decades.

The growing mediums have gone from a soil depth of several feet down to just a couple of inches. New discoveries with prefab plant containers and hybrid watering systems have now made these systems available to the average homeowner.

Live roofs naturally cool our homes, slow down storm water events and provide a natural setting that brings your home about as close to being "one with nature" as you can get.

Green Living Made Easy will be posting a page on Green Roofs. We will give you sources to buy these and information on the requirements and installation. Watch for that in the next few months.

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