The heat is on. From unrelenting sunshine to the humid breeze, most of us rush home from the heat outside. But what if your indoors are as warm as the outdoors? DHonSaturday asked some industry experts about design elements that will ensure the house remains cool and pleasant, even during peak summer days.
The placement of windows plays an important role in how much sunlight and air enter a room, says Prashanth Nandiprasad, Bengaluru-based architect and designer. “Every location has a naturally occurring wind direction that is also seasonal. Placing windows diagonally opposite to each along this natural and locally prevailing breeze direction helps in cross ventilation,” he explains. To ensure the naturally occurring wind direction doesn’t overlap with the solar heat gain, he suggests installing a ‘Storm Shutter’ on the windows. “These act as a sunscreen and can also help prevent solar heat gain,” he adds.
Speaking about the different kinds of windows available in the market, Akhilesh Baldota, co-founder, Creative Geometry, says: “Casement windows are preferred over sliding windows. When casement windows are open, they give you 100% ventilation whereas sliding windows allow only 50%.” Casement windows are windows that are attached to the frame on the sides and open like how doors do.
It is best to avoid warm-toned lights. “Generally the warmer toned lights — of the colour temperature of 3,000 K — tend to produce the perception of heat,” informs Nandiprasad.
To cut down the heat emitting from light bulbs and other lighting fixtures, it is recommended to cover lights with a shade.
Furniture and decor
Minimal furniture made with breathable fabric helps keep the temperature in the room pleasant. “Both natural and faux leather are a big no for furniture as they do not breathe and cause body sweat to accumulate when someone comes in contact with it. Cane/rattan furniture with some comfortable cushions on them allows for ‘breathing’ and can best help dissipate the heat,” says Nandiprasad.
As for the drapes, he suggests ones made out of natural fabrics like cotton, jute or linen. “Synthetic materials attract static, heat and dust. Go for natural upholstery. If this is not possible, try to go for a blended fabric with a higher natural fibre content,” he adds.
Flooring and roofing
In order to keep the temperature at a lower level, Baldota suggests avoiding the use of concrete slabs on the roof. “Today, there is green roofing, sloped roofs, matka filler slabs or even clay tile roofing. All these alternatives will help keep the space cooler. For the floors, natural stones like marble, limestone or kota stone can be used,” he advises.
A chat with your architect will help you figure out what works best for your home and matches the aesthetics and your budget.
Plants are always a good idea, not only do they add a pop of colour to the home but also help in lowering the temperature of the space. Experts recommend a healthy addition of both indoor and outdoor plants to the home. “Indoor plants that can survive in the shade and indoor environment must be chosen. Palms, rheos, peace lilies and anthuriums, are all great selections. They require little sunlight, little maintenance and bring a lot of drama and zest to a space,” says Nandiprasad.