Heat wave: an architect’s secrets to cooling his house

Put a wet towel in front of your windows, put your feet in a bowl of cold water, drink hot drinks… All means are good to fight the heat wave and high temperatures. But for “Nel,” a 25-year-old architect according to his Twitter biography, there are “effective, longer-term methods” for getting the heat out of our homes. In a wire” published on Thursday, July 21 on the social network Twitter, the architect gave several of his tips, sketches in support, to help you lower the temperature in your home. Whether you’re in an apartment or a house, this should keep you happy for the next heatwaves.

Protect south and west windows

The openings (glass door, bay window or ordinary window) that are exposed to the sun during the day turn your house into a veritable conservatory. How to reduce this effect? There are different solutions, explains the architect.

exterior shutters

You can install exterior shutters, preferably in light colors. The ideal, according to him, are slatted shutters. For small budgets, “You can also temporarily, always on the outside, place small blinds in the style of blinds or in thick fabrics”.


Another solution for homeowners with the resources: installing a pergola, canopy or roof overhang on the southern openings. If you are short on budget, the architect recommends “an ephemeral installation” thanks to “a simple curtain stretched over a wooden structure”.

Green your balcony

A south-facing balcony is a godsend for plant lovers. Enjoying! Especially since the plants you will be growing will help protect you from the heat of the sun’s rays. To stay even cooler, the architect recommends placing an awning against the balustrade of your balcony: “screen, canisse, funnel on which you will grow climbing plants and which you can double with a veil in the middle of summer”he writes in his Twitter thread, “liked” more than 12,000 times at the time of writing.

To plant a tree

A tree in front of a large glass opening acts as a sunshade in the summer. To take advantage of the warmth of the sun’s rays in winter, choose a tree species that loses its leaves. In this way, in the right season, it can let the sun’s rays through and heat your house.

Protect your concrete floor

Is the floor of your terrace or balcony made of concrete? Beware of heat waves: the concrete stores heat and your living space becomes unlivable. To avoid this unpleasant surprise without going through the work box, the architect gives an economic tip: “protect it with pallet wood or openwork grids.” And voila!

Focus on light colors

Dark colors seem more noble or aesthetic, depending on the trends, but when it comes to insulation and protection against high temperatures, it is better to bet on light colors such as gray, white or cream. “Pay particular attention to gray coatings and roof terraces with black waterproofing”warns the architect.

Insulate your house

The most durable (but not necessarily the cheapest) way to protect your home from high temperatures is to insulate it. This may require work (at your expense or that of your landlord). The architect also recalls in his “thread” the existing standards (RE 2020, which replaces the RT2012) and the need to call on professionals in the sector to implement these solutions, such as attic insulation with cellulose wadding. As a reminder, you can take advantage of certain energy renovation tools. Don’t forget to inform.

(Good) ventilate your house

The art of ventilation is not so obvious. The architect explains that for “effectively ventilate a home”this rule must be followed: “You need two opposing openings (North-South or East-West), one low and the other high. Only open if the outside temperature is lower than the inside temperature.”

There are other, more technical solutions: the VMC with dual flow, a reversible heat pump or even air conditioning, but the damage in terms of ecology is known. If you or someone close to you is vulnerable, use it sparingly. You can “turn it on at a minimum of 26 degrees (or -7°C from the outside) to avoid excessive energy consumption”advises the architect again.

Further afield, you can cross the Atlantic and take inspiration from the “Canadian source”: “An ecological technique par excellence, the Canadian source uses the principle of geothermal energy to maintain a constant temperature in the house all year round. It is a long air line that you dig about 1 meter deep and that ends in the accommodation.”

Read on with this article: Digital tool, street furniture, architecture: this is how cities are tackling the heat wave.

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