Ways to Cool Cities

The urban heating effect is a very real threat to how we cool our cities. The concentration of cement and machinery generates and stores a lot of heat that natural systems can’t see cool. Unless we purposefully design our cities to incorporate natural cooling techniques. The video above explores three ways that cities can start to cool their local environments.

Over at Reddit user megalomania summarized the video:

Method 1 – White asphalt emulsion on pavement
Method 2 – Rooftop Gardens
Method 3 – “Placement of buildings” to create shady canyons block not to block natural wind corridors.

The Tube is Heating up While London is Trying to Stay Cool

London’s tube system is literally heating up the city – and that’s a problem. A hundred years ago their subway stations were places to cool down during hot summer days and people had to wear sweaters while commuting. Today, this is no longer the case. The trains are heating the earth which in turn makes the entire tube too hot.

Cooling the tube is now a pressing issue and nifty ideas are being tried. New systems being tested tend to be green and benefit other parts of the city. Basically they are trying to transfer the heat to places that want it to save costs.

An experiment in Islington is trying that very thing using heat from the tube tunnels to warm up a municipal heating service provided to a housing estate. The advantage of this scheme is that it can remove heat in winter when it’s needed above ground. It may seem mildly annoying that surface users don’t want heat in summer when you’d think the tunnels are at their most oppressive, but in fact removing heat in winter helps during the summer.

If the clay surrounding the tunnel can be cooled in winter, it has more capacity to absorb heat in the summer.

As it happens, at this particular trial, the fans can also be reversed so that during the summer months, they can suck cool night time air down into the tunnels as well.

Read more.

How to use Geothermal Energy in your Home

What is Geothermal? from Austin Wendenburg on Vimeo.

Geothermal energy is one of the most sustainable energy sources because it works off of heat transferring from the ground to your home. In Iceland, the majority of the electricity comes from geothermal energy because the country sits in a prime location. You can make use of geothermal energy at your home in a much smaller way.

Cheap and Easy Ways to Keep Cool Without Air Conditioning

I’m one of those people that can’t handle unrelenting heat and so I’m always looking for ways to stay cool. I’m also one of those people who doesn’t like air conditioning (for reasons beyond the obvious power consumption), as a result I love tips on how to make your home cooler in easy ways.

At Treehugger they have a list of 10 ways to alleviate the need for AC. Some require a few years to take effect (like growing a shade tree) while others can happen right away like opening the windows.

The windows on your home are no just holes in the wall that you open or close, they are actually part of a sophisticated ventilation machine. It is another “Oldway”—People used to take it for granted that you tune them for the best ventilation, but in this thermostat age we seem to have forgotten how.

If the Treehugger list is not enough for you, don’t worry! We’ve looked at energy-free ways to stay cool in the summer before:

Keeping it Cool Without Air Conditioning

Green Ways to Stay Cool in Summer Heat

Green Ways to Stay Cool in Summer Heat

The summertime can get insanely hot and it’s very tempting to turn the air conditioning on full blast – don’t. Air conditioning is notoriously bad for the environment due to the ridiculous amount of energy they consume to cool a building.

There are many other ways to stay cool over the summer that require a heck of a lot less energy.

1. Close your windows
It may seem counter-intuitive, but opening the windows will often make your home warmer, not cooler. Open your windows at night if the air outside is cooler than inside, and close them — along with blinds and shades — before the sun hits your house in the morning. This will allow cool night air to circulate, and prevent a good deal of the sun’s heat from infiltrating your living space.

You may also put houseplants — particularly larger potted trees — in front of sunny windows to absorb some of the sun’s energy. Use this method, and on all but the summer’s hottest days, you can get away without using the air conditioning at all!

2. Use fans strategically
Ceiling fans and those set right in front of you are there to keep you cool, not cool the room. But a fan in your face can help you feel dramatically cooler, even if the room temperature hardly budges. You should be able to set your air conditioner higher, at about 78 degrees, but feel much cooler by using a fan.

Enhance its effect by wetting your skin with a spray bottle, and get a near-instant cooling effect by wetting your wrists and letting the fan blow air across them.

Fans can help cool your home, particularly when used to blow cooler air indoors, usually at night. You can maximize the effect by creating a wind tunnel of sorts, with a fan blowing cool air in on one end of the house, and another blowing out on the opposite side of the house.

3. Adjust the thermostat
If you have central air controlled by a thermostat, program it to save energy by increasing the heat significantly during the day when the house is empty, and give up a couple degrees at night, too — especially on the hottest days.

You may be surprised to find that the contrast between outdoor and indoor temperatures matters as much as the absolute temperature inside your home.

Keep reading at Yahoo Green.

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