Our comfort zone, in terms of the optimum temperature within our healthy home, lies somewhere between 15 & 25 Degrees Celsius. The exact temperature will vary dependant upon a number of variables, which include surface temperatures, moisture in the air, movement of the air and the nature of any heat emitted in the environment.
To maintain the optimum temperature we must obviously consider both heating and cooling:
At its simplest, cooling of the occupants of a building can be achieved through appropriate positioning of the occupants, provision of opening windows and the employment of fans.
The thermal mass of a room, as defined by the mass of the dense structural elements of the room can be utilised in passively cooling air temperature during the day. Heat will flow from the warm air into the cooler structural elements, reducing air temperature by up to 3 degrees Celsius. The system must be reset over night by ventilating the structure with cooler night air and in doing so reducing the temperature of the thermal mass.
Mechanical cooling options are extensive, but are difficult to justify on green or sustainable grounds and are thus considered beyond the scope of this article.
Garden design can assist in keeping property temperatures in check – carefully placed deciduous trees can block up to 90% of the suns rays in the Summer and even when bare of leaves in the Winter up to 50% or so. Similarly, climbing plants will provide additional shade. A well planted garden will have a cooling effect brought about by transpiration from the leaves of plants.