Monday, 21 November 2011

ultra-cheap air-conditioning sans the electricity

Article by Marc Aupiais

-World Tainted Green: Environmental Service of

On Sunday I was in Entabeni conservation wildlife reserve, at Legend golf and safari resort lodge. The temperature was such to create heat stroke, and as I was in the car for two hours, I needed a way to stay cool. It is a myth that you get heat stroke just by being in a vehicle. I put my survival knowledge to use.

Earlier, on my arrival. Air-conditioning off, I was cooler in the car than outside air was. Once, again it got me thinking.

What I did was insulation. I put up that reflective tinfoil on the wind shield, and covered the windows with a cotton jersey, and my wind breaker from Pringle. I then opened all the windows, and created the right amount of space to create a through breeze.

Early man would spend his days in caves. They provide insulation against hot and against cold. Houses used to be built to insulate against weather, at certain angles, in certain ways.

This morning when I woke up I put blankets over my curtains, pulled blinds too. One blanket I attached to the window on the top of one side and closed it, the other was over.

Already, with only my fan on, and even with my window open, and light on: my room is cooler than the rest of the house. The wall of insulation against the outside is doing what my fan alone could not.

Mine is the only bedroom in the house without air conditioning. A simple survival trick I knew to use to spend two hours in desert like temperatures in the Waterberg, has now lead to an experiment.

Blankets keep heat in and out. A few layers of insulation and my 1970's or '80's fan is able to keep me as cool as in winter or spring.

Especially up on the hill where I live.

Perhaps I will have to wait for a sunny day for the full test. It is raining and nearby Johannesburg is on 15 degrees according to the weather on my phone. It is set to reach 25 degrees today. Where I am it is 5 degrees hotter than on road level it should be interesting to test.

If the insulation by curtains isn't enough (my house has brick walls 4 layers about thick), then I will move to put soil in bags above my room in the ceiling, if fire safe or some other method. Either way, what worked in Mpumalanga, ought work here!

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