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How to keep your home cool without air conditioning

How to keep your home cool without air conditioning

Tom. Content Writer, Nottingham

Guide written by:

Tom. Content Writer, Nottingham

5 guides

Cooling the home without air conditioning not only saves electricity, but also protects the environment. Read on to find out how to cool down during the summer months without air conditioning and which environmentally-friendly alternatives to air conditioners are available.
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Temperatures are rising worldwide, heatwaves are becoming more intense, occur more frequently and last longer. The reason for this development is climate change. According to a recent study published in June 2022 in the journal "Environmental Research: Climate", the effects of climate change on extreme weather, such as heatwaves, droughts and heavy rain, are still underestimated.

Extreme heat is exhausting for the human body; you lose concentration, feel tired and sleep badly. In addition, exposure to heat poses serious health risks, especially for the elderly and people with underlying health problems: headaches, dizziness and cardiovascular issues can arise in the worst cases. That is why it is important to seek the shade and cool off during periods of extremely hot weather, so that your body temperature can recover.

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Only around 0.5% of homes in the UK have air conditioning units installed, so if you have to survive the next heatwave without it, at least now you know that you are not alone! In order to keep a cool head in the summer, here are some tips on how to cool your rooms without air conditioning:

1. Block out windows

Close your shutters, curtains or blinds and block out sunlight. This is especially worthwhile for windows that face south, west or south-west. Blackout curtains can be particularly useful for this. On the ground floor or on balconies, parasols, awnings or plants that cast shadows on the windows can help keep your home cool.

2. Hang wet laundry

On hot summer days, let your freshly-washed clothes, towels and bed sheets dry indoors. When the water evaporates from the laundry, heat is extracted from the ambient air which cools the temperature in the room. Also, make sure you use light cotton sheets when sleeping.

3. Air your rooms properly

You should keep the windows closed during the day so as not to let warm air into the rooms. Ventilate the home in the early morning or at night when temperatures drop. Create a draught by opening several windows at once, which provides a cool breeze.

4. Window film

Window film with a mirror effect can be easily glued to a window pane and removed without leaving any residue. The reflective film reflects the sunlight, so that significantly less heat penetrates through the window. However, this will also limit the brightness in the room.

5. Turn off electrical appliances

Televisions, computers and lamps generate heat and should remain switched off in extreme temperatures to keep rooms cool. Also, electrical appliances that are in stand-by mode emit heat. Unplug all devices that you are not using or plug in an extension lead that allows you to switch off several devices at the same time.

6. Use energy-efficient fans or air coolers

A pedestal fan or ceiling fan with a high energy efficiency class consumes a fraction of what an air conditioner needs in terms of electricity. Place a bowl of ice cubes or bottles with frozen water in front of the fan and enjoy the cool draught, and if you have a ceiling fan set it to turn anti-clockwise. Air coolers work on the same principle. They are designed to draw in warm air from a room before passing it through an absorbent sheet where the water evaporates and ultimately cools the air around it. Also, fans and air coolers are cheaper than air conditioners.

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Climate change will continue to cause high temperatures and heatwaves in the coming years. In the long term, it is worth investing in measures that are a sustainable alternative to air conditioning and that protect your living space from extreme temperatures.


A well-insulated building keeps heat out of living areas. Loft insulation or insulating the roof is particularly effective.

Natural insulation materials are particularly sustainable. These include, for example:

  • Wood fibre;
  • Cork;
  • Hemp;
  • Straw.
Good thermal insulation keeps your living space cool in summer and warm in winter, therefore you not only benefit from more comfort, but also lower energy bills.

Installation of a heat pump

Heat pumps use renewable energy resources. They extract heat from the air and distribute it around the home and can both cool and heat. Another advantage is that they emit virtually zero CO₂ emissions and reduce your energy bills after installation.

Installing roller shutters

Well-insulated shutters keep out sunlight and extreme heat. Make sure that the roller shutter box is also insulated. In addition to insulation and heat pumps, roller shutters also have the advantage of keeping you cool in the summer and trapping heat in the home in winter.

Go for insulated plastic shutters in a bright colour as they will provide the best protection against summer heat.

Using greenery on exterior walls and plants in windows

Green facades and living walls ensure a pleasant indoor temperature. They are a natural layer of insulation that protects not only from high temperatures in summer, but also from cold in winter. Popular plants for exterior walls are vines, ivy or wisteria.

Trees, bushes and hedges provide shade in the garden, but also shield windows from the sun's rays.

The energy efficiency of buildings forms a key part of the UK government's strategy to tackling climate change; housing represents 35% of the energy we consume in the UK, emitting 20.8% of carbon dioxide emissions. Many modernisation measures that keep your flat or house cool in the summer contribute to the energy efficiency of a building and may be supported by governments grants. In particular, grants for the installation of heat pumps and better insulation may be available depending on your financial situation.

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Guide written by:

Tom. Content Writer, Nottingham, 5 guides

Tom. Content Writer, Nottingham

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