Alright, I admit, we don’t have it that bad here. Being up in the mountains practically guarantees that it will be 15-20 degrees cooler than down in Denver, which can easily reach 100+ in the summer. So the hottest it typically gets here is about 90. And true it is a dry heat – not that awful humidity that we’re used to on the East Coast (where it’s not unusual to find it 98 degrees with 98% humidity. Bleh.) *and I realize that it’s REALLY hot, like record-breaking hot, in some places right now, so 90 sounds like nuttin’ but keep in mind that we are blissfully happy when it’s snowing and zero degrees out, so hot weather is something we are not fond of in general*
But 90 is still hot, especially since our house sits on the side of the mountain facing Southwest. Perfect for passive solar heating in the winter, brutal in the summer. And since we face a mountain range, we had to have tons of windows to capture the view (which is once again, brutal in the summer). Logs typically are excellent insulators; windows as we all know are not.
We don’t have air conditioning nor an evaporative cooler (which is popular in these parts) so we have to come up with clever ways to keep cool when it gets hots up in thes parts.
In the a.m. we fling open all doors and windows upstairs to capture all the cool air (I don’t keep the balcony/deck doors open overnight because of the bear that likes to climb up our log posts onto our deck; if you missed that fun story, click here to read about the bear visit last summer). As such, it can get a little toasty in the evening, so morning is our chance to let in all the cool air.
Then around 10 a.m. the sun is really coming up over the ridge and shining down so we close it all down. Those white, vinyl light-blocking shades (I know, materials not so eco) do a fantastic job of blocking the sun and heat.
Every window, every door. Every shade goes down and we even hang sheets over our french doors to add another layer of insulation. (It really does help).
We grill outside or use the crock pot often to keep the temp. inside the house as cool as possible.
You can see the difference it makes. Hey, 7 degrees is 7 degrees!
We are lucky to have a sanctuary downstairs where our sunken-in space remains 10-20 degrees cooler than upstairs (great in the summer, but consequently really frigid come winter). I work in my studio during the daytime which keeps me cool and on really hot days where it’s 80+ upstairs, we’ll take our dinner downstairs where we plop on our guest bed and watch TV in our cool, dark room.
Ahhh, 72 is MUCH better!!
And when we return upstairs, we crank up the fans which really help us stay cool.
So that’s what we do to fight the heat; what ideas do you have on eco-friendly ways to keep cool? Please share!