Air conditioning – it’s one of the great examples of how technology has made our lives more comfortable in our homes. However, these new technologies come with costs – both financial and environmental. Natural ventilation is a set of techniques that has been used for thousands of years to keep homes cool and comfortable without the costs of modern technologies. We’ve created a list of free ways to use natural ventilation and leverage the wind to save money, lower your carbon footprint, and stay comfortable.
If done correctly, opening windows can accomplish two tasks – create a flow of air that can cool individuals in the home and blow out hot air. Regardless of the temperature outside, if air flows through your home, the air will blow over your skin and cause your sweat to evaporate, which leaves cooler moisture on your skin and helps keep you feeling cool. To make this work, you want to open windows on the side of your house that gets hit directly by wind. Generally, wind blows from the southwest, but in some areas of the country, the wind directions may shift. You need to open at least two windows to get a flow, so you’ll also need to open windows on the opposite wall as the ones you’ve opened. While opening all windows is better than not opening any windows, strategically opening select windows in a way that leverages the natural blowing wind to create a flow of air through your home is the most effective way to cool the occupants of your home.
We all know that warm air rises, but homes aren’t always built with this simple fact in mind. However, if your home is equipped with windows at varying heights, you should open windows at lower heights on the side of your home where the wind will blow in, and you should open windows at higher heights on the opposite side of the room. This will maximize the effectiveness of opening your windows by creating a flow of air that naturally expels the warmer air out of the higher window.
Open your chimney
If you don’t have windows at different heights, you may be able to accomplish the same goal by opening your chimney vent during the summer. This will naturally allow warm air to escape out of your chimney.
Consider installing a turbine ventilator
Turbine ventilators are installed on your roof and use wind to suck the hot air out of your home. Turbine ventilators cost approximately $40, but after you install them, they harness the power of nature to make your home cooler at no cost to you.
Use landscaping to create a wind tunnel
Consider the wind when landscaping your yard. Be sure not to block your home from the wind by planting large trees or bushes on the side of your house hit directly by the wind. Instead, plant your trees in a way that directs the breeze toward your home.
A simpler way to upgrade the exterior of your home and improve the comfort in your home is to put a bird bath or fountain outside of the window that you usually open on the side of your home that is hit by wind. The wind will blow over the water, cooling the air, and your ventilation will bring that cool air into your home.