HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: While additional appliances to beat the heat — like air conditioners, fans and coolers — only increase electric bills, the long hours of power cuts make keeping homes cool in the summer a daunting task. However, there are simple yet effective ways to keep your house cool in the summertime.
“One option could be painting the roof with especially formulated reflective or white paint, which will help keep the top floor much cooler,” says Bindra Kachhapati Pradhan,
director and principal interior designer at Keen Enterprises Pvt Ltd. “Putting up false ceiling
of materials like glass wool,
gypsum, thermocol, plaster of paris, et cetera can bring down the room temperature by up to 80 per cent,” she further informs.
Bibhuti Man Singh, senior
architect and proprietor of Technical Interface, says, “Using paints like High Albedo (heat reflecting) paint, membrane on walls and cross ventilation can help to keep the house
cooler in summer.” He suggests having living wall, meaning creeper plants on the wall, to lessen extra heat and cool the walls. Singh also advises home owners to put up reflective glass, heavy curtains, and
insulating glass windows to keep heat out.
Reflective paints and colour shades also play a vital role
in enhancing the ‘cool’ effect.
Pradhan therefore suggests painting the room walls with cool hues. Professionals also advise installing white window shades, drapes, or blinds to
reflect heat away from the house. “Most people in Nepal use
inexpensive and easily washable nylon curtains instead of cotton ones. But investing in hefty, thick and dense cotton mix curtains for interior windows can help
reduce house temperature by
40 to 50 per cent,” Pradhan says. She also advises closing the windows during the day and leaving them open from dusk till dawn to let in cool air.
Stating that room temperature rises mainly due to the use of electronic devices and lighting, she further recommends opting for CFL and fluorescent lights, as they give off brighter light and less heat. Turning off lights
and heat-generating appliances
during the day and when not
in use also minimises internal
temperature. Informing that the settings play an important role in cooling the environment of the room, Pradhan cites, “Big and heavy objects should not be placed in front of the window and doors, as they obstruct cool air from entering.”
Equally important is the type of flooring. “Majority of city dwellers have carpeted floors, which add on to the room
temperature during summers,” Pradhan maintains. PVC,
laminated and wood flooring
are some options that can help maintain the room temperature. According to her, wood flooring is the best for both summer and winter. The costs of the flooring reportedly begin from Rs 26 per sq ft and go up to Rs 300 per sq
ft. It is also known to last for
many years, depending upon the
material and maintenance.
By shifting hot air out and
cool air in, louver ventilation also works as natural air conditioner. “During construction, we suggest putting up louver ventilation in every room. These vents not only cool the house but also reduce the cost of coolers,” adds Pradhan. Indoor and outdoor plants can be another option for cooling the house naturally.
Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides will cool the house in summer and allow sunlight to warm it during the winter when it sheds its leaves.
Stating that only 20 per cent of the houses in Kathmandu valley are made by professionals, Singh asserts that hiring qualified architects and interior designers could minimise the need to later upgrade the house to beat the weather and ensure a comfortable living space.