The best (air-conditioning-free) ways to keep an attic cool

As the weather warms up, there’s nothing better than getting into the great outdoors and enjoying some fresh air. The problem comes when you have to stay in, and you’re either stuck with warm, stuffy air or the dry, expensive and noisy air conditioning unit. Or so you might think. There are multiple ways to cool any attic; all you have to do is pick the right one for your property.

Budapest - Overheated attics are a perennial summer problem. But this year we’re ready to solve it.

Natural ventilation

Whether your attic is still storage space or has been repurposed as a stylish loft conversion, you should have proper ventilation: and know how to make the most of it. Lofts simply need vents in the correct position, which varies based on the size and shape of your roof. For converted spaces, choose windows with built-in vents so you don’t have to open them completely.

To maximise convection currents, open all internal doors to allow airflow. Next, open a downstairs window on the cooler, shaded side of the building. Then, open upstairs windows on the sunny, warmer side. This will draw in the cool air and force out the warm. You can enhance the process with well positioned fans.

Shades and shields

If there’s no cool air to draw in, best way to cool attic spaces is by restricting airflow and shading your interior from the sun. Curtains, blinds and shutters are all effective options, but you can maximise the cooling effect by opting for fabric coverings. This gives you the option to mist them with water, which, once heated, will evaporate and have an added cooling effect on the room, as long as it’s not already too humid.

Alternatively, block the light without blocking the view with an external awning or overhang. Some companies even offer shutters and awnings with photo-voltaic (PV) solar panels, so you can harness the sun’s energy while your home is in the shade.

Paint and pottery

For long, hot summers in perennially sweltering climates, it might be wise to invest in a more permanent solution. Follow the Mediterranean example by using light or, ideally, white paint for your property’s exterior. It reflects more of the sun’s light and heat, and stops the building heating up as fast. Plus your home will boast the charm of a sun-soaked Santorini mansion.

Similarly, light terracotta roof tiles will reflect more heat than darker alternatives. Plus they’re breathable, which can help regulate moisture and airflow as part of an overall ventilation system.

Built-in solutions

Keen to stay on the cutting edge of home design? The best way to cool attic spaces is with a rooftop garden. Cultivating a green space on your roof can cool down an attic space by absorbing light and heat before it hits your home. And because the plants are absorbing CO2, it’s good for the planet too.

Once the temperature’s down, you can keep it even with “phase change” plaster panels. These wax-infused materials are used for internal walls, and they absorb heat in the day and release it at night, helping regulate the temperature.

You can find out more ideas for unleashing your attic’s potential in our article on the value of loft conversions. Or for more ideas on how to keep your property cool, plus the latest property trends, visit our blog.

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