With the heat wave we just experienced, I’m sure all of us would have appreciated a big shade tree sheltering our homes from the blazing sun! The smart use of shade is one of those techniques and skills that made sense in earlier times and are coming back into use now. Many of us are trying to live more simply, avoiding waste and over-consumption of resources. Along with drying laundry on a clothesline, growing food in the garden, canning and preserving, we can keep our homes cool with shade and save on energy costs too.
While you’re waiting for that shade tree to grow, think about using awnings over your windows and patio. Shading from the outside keeps the house cool a lot better than trying to block the sun’s heat from the inside. Some awnings can be left in place all year while others are retracted against the building or removed for winter.
There are lots of ways to create shade for your outdoor living area and the house too: screens, bamboo blinds, trellises and canopies. Here at my home, we have sheer drapes on our west-facing balcony. This makes the balcony a bit cooler and private, and the bedroom nearby benefits from the shade too. Bamboo blinds are another easy and inexpensive shade solution for apartment-dwellers.
This is the second in a series about keeping your home comfortable even in the hottest part of the summer. If you’d like to send in your ideas, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.