Practical tips to stay cool in summer

The European project Cooltorise has developed a number of strategies for coping with the heat

In regions such as the Mediterranean region, where heat waves are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change, it is worth knowing effective strategies to keep homes cool in summer (especially those that are more vulnerable to the global rise in temperatures).

While it is essential to promote climate shelters and public spaces with shade and vegetation, there are many tips we can take into account at home. Using efficient cooling techniques, maximizing natural shade, promoting cross-ventilation or using appliances with smart technologies are some of the strategies to improve our energy well-being and reduce electricity consumption.

In this context, one of the objectives of Cooltorise is to provide practical and useful information to citizens to cope with the summer heat. All this, taking into account the impact that the heat has on vulnerable groups, who often cannot afford to increase the cost of their bills. Barcelona’s local television (Betevé) reported on the impact of the workshops organized as part of the project for people in vulnerable situations. Thanks to these sessions, they learned some strategies to reduce their electricity bills by 5 to 10%. This is demonstrated by the experience of Jenni, one of the participants, who explained on Catalan television (TV3) that these workshops helped her to combat the heat without increasing the total cost of her bill.

Here there’s a summary some tips, mainly focused on passive and adaptive strategies, that have been shared in the workshops thanks to the participation of the Summer Energy Poverty Agents (SEPAs):

  1. Make the most of natural ventilation. It is advisable to ventilate at night and in the early hours of the morning, and avoid doing so when the outside temperature exceeds 30 °C. If you can, encourage cross ventilation so that air circulates better throughout the house.
  2. Fans are your greatest ally! Fans are the optimal alternative to air conditioning, they facilitate perspiration through the skin and consume up to 20 times less energy!
  3. Prevent the sun from entering the house: to block solar radiation, use awnings, blinds or shades, but not curtains.
  4. Opt for light and cool meals (to reduce the generation of body heat during digestion), keep your body hydrated by drinking water regularly and avoid consuming alcohol or sugary/caffeinated beverages.

In addition, in dry climates, it is recommended to use the evaporative cooling technique. That is: dampen curtains, outside patios or the air in general to reduce its temperature when the water evaporates.

Below is an infographic that illustrates these techniques:

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