While summer may be great for water activities and outdoor fun, warm weather and sunshine outside can also make temperatures inside a home rise. Air conditioning and fans can help cool things down, but what if you could avoid your house becoming too hot in the first place?
The paint shade or the material of the exterior of your house can affect the amount of heat (or cold air) that comes through the walls. Choosing more efficient materials or colors can potentially help lower energy bills by relying less on a mechanical heating or cooling system.
The color of your home can affect heat absorption. According to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Cooling Your Home Naturally report, dark, dull colors can absorb 70 to 90 percent of the sun’s radiant energy, which can then be transferred into the home. Meanwhile, light-colored paint can help reflect the sun’s heat away from the home. White walls, for example, will gain 35 percent less heat than black walls, says Solar Today Magazine, therefore requiring less energy to cool the home.
Although it has efficient properties, some people don’t like the look of white paint on their home, says Solar Today. Cool paint colors are an alternative. Cooler shades help block solar radiation, says Solar Today.
Don’t want to spend time maintaining the paint on your siding? Today’s vinyl siding comes in a variety of fade-resistant colors and designs, says BobVila.com. If the time comes to replace your siding, the color you choose could make a difference not only in your home’s appearance, but in its inside temperature.
If you’re planning to move and want a home that may naturally stay a bit cooler, you may want to consider what material it’s made from. Brick or concrete walls may keep the interior cooler on a hot summer day than lightweight wall materials, says Oak Ridge National Laboratory. And that same material can help you stay warmer during the colder months. Denser materials naturally soak up heat from the outside and hold it longer, slowing the interior warming process in the summer and the cooling process in the winter, says Arizona Solar Center.
Dense building materials can help keep your home comfortable around the clock. After brick or adobe walls absorb heat during the day, they slowly release it inward, helping to keep a home cooler during the day and warmer at night, as the heat makes its way to the other side, explains the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In addition to choosing building materials or paint colors, there are other natural ways to help keep your house comfortable. Installing shades or awnings and planting trees at the south end of your house are also ways to help cool your home, say the DOE.
According to the Arizona Solar Center, a good way to maintain interior temperatures is by preventing hot or cold air from entering the home in the first place. Weather-stripping and caulking windows or installing insulation in your exterior walls are ways to help prevent outside air from getting into your home.
By taking steps to keep the heat or cold out, you may be able to lower your energy bills and stay more comfortable throughout the year.