Staying cool

Lifestyle. Climate change. Health.

Damien Schneider,

Image of a city
Burning sun © Jonas Weckschmied on unsplash

As heatwaves increase in Switzerland and around the world, it's worth knowing a few tips on how to stay cool at home or in the office. Staying cool and environmentally friendly is possible, as long as you don't need an air conditioner.  

Here are a few tips to combat the heat wave:

Direct sunlight you will avoid

Sunshade © Kenny Eliason on unsplash

The most important measure is to do everything possible to prevent the sun from hitting the windows and turning your premises into a greenhouse or solar oven. All solutions are good: close the blinds or shutters, unroll the awnings on your balconies, build an eaves or plant trees (very effective but a quite long term solution). In short, the sun should not shine in your windows.

Closed the windows you will keep

Facade with closed shutters
Closed shutters © Jens Aber on unsplash

Contrary to our first intuition, it is important to keep the windows closed during the day when it is hot. To be more precise, windows should be closed as soon as it is warmer outside than inside. This will avoid heating up your interior during the day when the sun is shining.

At night, open the windows you will

Open window
Open window © Kinga Cichewicz on unsplash

Conversely, it is a good idea to open the windows when it is cooler outside than inside. As a general rule, open all the windows at night and keep the doors open. Ideally, you should be able to open several windows to create currents in the house and circulate as much air as possible to cool the rooms at night (night cooling).  

However, beware of rain or thieves (especially if you live on the ground floor), keep blinds or shutters closed or open your transom windows (this however reduces the efficiency of the ventilation).

The devices sparingly you will use

Vintage television
Vintage television © Possessed Photography on unsplash

All electrical appliances produce heat; minimising the use of the TV, computer, hoover, etc., will help keep your home cool (we realise that your boss may not agree with you turning off your computer at work...).

Cold you will cook

Colourful salad
Colourful salad © Louis Hansel on unsplash

Ideally, eat cold. Cooking food in the oven or on the hob heats up your home enormously. If you have to cook, and if you can, close the kitchen door to keep the heat in the room and run the hood to extract it outside (this obviously doesn't work if your hood recirculates the air). Another solution, if you can, is to cook outside in the shade.

The fan you will prefer

Fans © cottonbro on pexels

If you are too hot, a fan is a good way to cool down. By circulating the air, the temperature you feel is lower than the actual temperature. A fan is also much more economical than an air conditioner, which we do not recommend.

Lightly you will dress

Leave the suit and tie behind and wear light, loose-fitting outfits. You'll have plenty of time in winter to wear that turtleneck jumper that makes you look like Steve Jobs.

And of course, remember to stay hydrated and avoid strenuous exercise in hot weather.  

And even if it's hot, don't forget to smile... to the point of being spine-chilling.