Ways to Beat Heat

By Sapna Aggarwal
With summer on its peek, I always wish that green buildings would become a trend in India. The proper ways to really beat heat would be to incorporate in architecture, the traditional and modern means of tapping into renewable sources of energy. Some ways of the same are described hereunder
  • Proper orientation to take maximum advantage of the sun
  • Landscaping to alter wind direction and ambient temperature
  • Choice of building insulation/roof gardens / colours and textures
  • Properly sized and shaded windows
  • Window placement to allow cross ventilation
  • Placement of rooms (e.g. buffer spaces like toilets, staircases on west)
  • Detail roof innovatively to admit maximum daylight
  • Use efficient lamps, fixtures and controls
  • Use solar water heating system
  • Use a hybrid of an earth air tunnel system and air-conditioning to reduce load.

(Source TERI- The energy and resource institute)

But nonetheless if you have your built up house, you can incorporate a few measures listed below to keep it cool.

  • Use cool colors for the interiors- walls, bed sheets, upholstery, accessories, rugs and carpets
  • Use thick curtains to block direct sunlight. This keep the temperature low by a few degrees and also saves on air – conditioning.
  • Use stone like white marble as it is low in heat absorption and hence cool to walk on.
  • Use beddings that are cotton based as they have a feel good factor, good air flow and absorb sweat, thereby making them ideal choice for summers. 
  • Using double glazing on window can heavily insulate the internal areas and keep a check on temperature loss. 
  • Doing a heat insulation on roof by using thermocol layer hidden in false ceiling and mud khaska on the roof if you are on top floor, further reduces the temperature.


  • Organic paints can drastically reduce the amount of toxic inhalants in your home. Organic paints are toxin-free and made with bases of milk protein, lime, or soy and are pigmented with concentrated clays and minerals to achieve a vast array of rich hues. 
  • Organic upholstery materials make toxin-free and even luxurious bed dressings. Organic cotton is easy to find. Bamboo fabric is a luxury material made from the quickly rejuvenating plant. Organic bedding is becoming a popular trend, and sheet sets are available at major retailers.
  • Organic flooring is available in natural wood and stone and organic wool carpeting. Organic flooring builds the ideal base for an eco-green room.
  • An organic mattress is usually made of organic cotton or wool. Organic mattresses are manufactured to be fire-safe alternatives to chemical-soaked foam mattresses. 
  • Organic and non-toxic cleaners are available in store-bought or homemade options and are a safe way to get a sparkling clean bedroom. 

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle is the mantra

One of the largest threats facing the Earth today is mass consumerism. The more we buy, the more natural resources are used and the more toxins are emitted during manufacturing. However, small changes can make a big difference: 

  • Reduce the amount of “stuff” you need to live comfortably. The fewer products you buy and the less energy you use, the fewer toxins are emitted and natural resources can be harvested for manufacturing. A simple choice is updating light fixtures with energy-efficient bulbs, i.e. CFL or LED available at most major retailers. 
  • Reuse what you already have. Don't make the common mistake of throwing out perfectly good items to replace them with organic alternatives. The better choice is to use and reuse items you already own until they are worn out. Or you could donate them to a local charity. Once you need to replace items, make the change with organic products for a green choice. 
  • Recycle not only your household waste, but also everything in your home. You can do your part by turning the old into the new and keeping reusable items out of landfills. Buying second-hand furniture, cutting old bed linens and clothing into cleaning rags, and turning old silk sarees into dining table covers are great ways to recycle.

September 2012

click here to enlarge