Three Ways to Keep Your Cozy Home Cool
The western U.S. is currently suffering from a heat wave and even people in Cozy, small or tiny homes are feeling the heat. Some locations around the U.S. can go without any kind of air conditioning (you lucky people up in the mountains), but many homes need some sort of cooling during the summer months.
However, there are ways to avoid the expense of central air conditioning when building your Cozy home. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, central AC units and installation can cost between $3,000 to $7,000. These units do end up lasting around 20 years, but air-conditioning is one of the heaviest burdens on the power grid and causes more greenhouse emissions. Having a smaller home to cool is the first benefit and there are several others.
1. The placement and insulation of your Cozy home can have a huge difference in how easy it is to keep cool. If you place your home with most of its windows, or the largest windows, facing West, the home will heat up faster. Design and place your home so that the windows face south if you are in the Northern Hemisphere. Good insulation will trap the cooler night air in a home and will let it out less gradually than a home with sub-par insulation. Also take into consideration the color of your roof, a lighter colored roof will reflect back heat.
2. During the summer, reduce the use of home appliances and electrical equipment. When these appliances or lights are left on, they heat up the home from the inside. Avoid using your oven and cook with an outdoor grill instead.
3. Choose some air-conditioning alternatives. These include swamp or evaporative coolers, geothermal heat pumps, solar-powered AC and ice power. Swamp coolers cool air through the evaporation of water; geothermal heat pumps use the earth’s steady temperature to cool and heat water, and each system has an indoor and outdoor unit that transfers water into the ground and pumps it back inside; solar-powered air-conditioning contains an AC unit connected to solar panels and helps reduce energy bills without the commitment of extensive rooftop solar panels; ice power works in conjunction with conventional air-conditioners by making ice during the night, when energy demand is lower. During the day, it uses this “ice battery” to deliver cooling to the AC unit, which offsets the energy usage of the system.
If you are interested in installing a small window AC unit in a tiny house, there is currently a great article by Logan Smith of Smalltopia in the Tiny House Magazine, Issue 7 about how he and his wife, Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens, installed an air conditioner in their tiny house on wheels.
Photo by Justin/Flickr