Cooling by Natural Air Circulation and Ventilation

It's just the first week of March but it's already a sweltering 34 degrees Celsius outside. And a weather temperature of 36 to 37 degrees is quite possible in the coming weeks.

Some friends in the neighborhood have been complaining of the heat. It's so bad that they couldn't stay inside their house for long during the day. It's become too hot and stuffy.

But I'm not complaining too much and I'm actually cool with it, literally and figuratively. In fact, I hardly break a sweat unless I do something strenuous like exercise or heavy housework.

And I attribute that to the breeze for natural cooling we get around the house.

It certainly helps that we don't have window and door screens installed. We had them in our old house and I'm convinced that window screens significantly cut down the amount of natural air cooling.


Energy Savings from Natural Air Ventilation

We rely on natural air circulation and ventilation to cool the house. We hardly turn on the electric fan and don't need to turn on the air conditioner.

I've no exact numbers, but I suppose we save a lot in terms of electricity since we don't have a need for these electric appliances to cool us.

Since we didn't firewall (a local term for the act of having a common wall) with the neighbors, our house is detached with a minimum of two meter space from the side perimeter fence.

So, basically, the wind flows freely through the sides of the house from back (east) to front (west). And since there are windows and doors at the sides, air goes inside and out in those passages as well.


Air Circulation and Ventilation

I always thought they meant the same thing, but apparently not.

Circulation - Free movement or passage (especially through a circuit)
Ventilation - The act of supplying fresh air and getting rid of foul air




When we had the house constructed, we specifically requested the architect for a house that's "bright, and breathes". That means the house should have plenty of natural lighting and ventilation. We weren't disappointed.

Although the windows aren't as tall as I'd like them to be, they're plenty enough for air to circulate freely. And with the doors providing natural air passages, it's never stuffy inside. The in and out movement of the outside air naturally cools the house.


Air Passages that Cool the House

Overall, there are 6 general points of air passages at the ground floor. Our house faces the west but the breeze usually comes from the east or the back of the house.

With the piano room door on the ground floor open, the wind directly comes from the window which faces East. Shown below are the windows from that room. That's the first air passage.


These are the 2 air passages in the dining room as shown below. The left (facing North) is the kitchen door that opens to an area with skylights. The right (facing South) is the sliding door that opens up to the terrace.


Then there are 2 air passages in the living room. The left (facing North) is a window that opens to the garage. The right (facing South) is a window that opens to the side garden.


Finally, the front bay window and front door comprise the 6th air passage in front (facing West).


If you're have a new house constructed, cooling the home naturally, may be one of your top agenda especially if you live in the tropics. And it pays to consult with an architect to design a house where you'll remain cool and hopefully save on your electric bill.



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