Keeping Cool: How to Renovate for the Next Heat Wave

Keeping Cool: How to Renovate for the Next Heat Wave
  • Opening Intro -

    It was a summer of heatwaves in North America.

    Rising temperatures might have been novel and welcome in the early weeks of the summer, but by August, they came to represent something more sinister: a new status quo.


According to climate scientists, the world can expect more heatwaves in the years to come. For decades, scientists cautioned the public about rising temperatures due to climate change, and it appears the chickens have finally come home to roost.

Perhaps it won’t be as dire as the direst predictions, but one thing is for sure – it’s going to be hotter.

So, what’s a homeowner to do? Assuming you already have air-conditioning, what renovation projects can you undertake to keep your home cooler?

In this article, let’s explore a few renos that keep your house comfortable even in intense heat.

Replacement Windows

Replacement windows make your home cooler in two different ways.

For starters, replacing old windows with updated operable windows provides you with a better opportunity to “cross-ventilate."

Cross-ventilation is a natural cooling process in which fresh air from outside displaces warm internal air.

The process requires two (or more) operable windows open at opposite points in a space. Talk to a window company about adding or replacing windows for ventilation – they will be able to advise on placement.

Secondly, new windows tend to be more energy-efficient, having a lower solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). The less SHGC a window has, the less solar heat it transmits into the home.

Look for a window company that advertises energy-efficient windows, preferably in partnership with Energy Star.

modern ceiling fantropical ceiling fan

      some ceiling fans for cooling to consider      

Duct Boosters (Or an HVAC Expert)

Duct boosters add an extra drive to your HVAC system’s airflow. They pump air through your home’s ductwork to ensure that cool air reaches all rooms – not just those closest to the AC units.

Some people swear by duct boosters to get the most from their air-conditioning. Others aren’t convinced.

Many HVAC experts (perhaps sensing a loss in job revenue) would rather see homeowners call an HVAC expert when they feel their AC isn’t reaching the whole home. The problem might be structural, they say.


Landscaping for Shade

Finally, here’s a DIY reno option for all the green thumbs out there: Garden for shade.

Planting tall shrubs and trees on the east or west side of a house lowers solar heat gains and provides shading. Experts recommend planting the trees a few feet from the base of the house to allow for airflow.

The fruits of your landscaping labour may not be apparent for a few years, but, before long, you will be rewarded with a lush, lively option for shading your home in intense heat. Follow the guide at the link for more information about cooling your house with a shade garden.

other related articles of interest:

While there are other reno options for cooling your home – ceiling fans, mini-splits, window treatments, etc. – these are the three best interventions. In the wake of several heat waves with more likely to come, consider these home renovations to keep you and your family comfortable and happy.

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