Summer is in full swing and it is getting hotter every minute. In fact, just recently in April, Bangladesh recorded the highest temperature in eight years– a staggering 41.2°C. Dhaka witnessed its hottest day as well, when the temperature soared to 39.5°C. There has been a surge in air conditioner and portable cooler sales for this reason. However, bearing the worst brunt of all are those living in the top floors of buildings. Since the top floor gets the most exposure to sunshine and heat, residents inside face trouble in cooling their homes down. While technology is a solution, not everyone can afford it. Here are some reasonably priced eco-friendly ways that you can cool your home if you are a top floor resident.
If you have a green finger, time to put it to good use. Growing plants is the best way to reduce heat and improve air quality in your home. During the day they absorb much of the sunlight. Through a process called transpiration, moisture evaporates from the leaves, which subsequently reduces the surrounding temperatures as well. They also help keep your indoors fresh and aerated. Aloe vera and snake plants are excellent choices. Snake plants emit oxygen at night, which reduces temperatures and is very healthy for you! You can discuss landscaping, gardening, and plant choices with professionals in this regard.
White reflects sunlight, so use it to your advantage. Often the exterior walls of a building are painted white and protected from weathering. West-facing walls will be heated up during the afternoon, so ensure that the exterior and interior walls should be taken care of with white paint. For terrace floors you can opt for white cement. If your indoor walls do not have white paint, you could switch to painting it white, but for a more budget-friendly option you could just use cardboards. During the day the ceiling stores all the heat from sunlight and emits it at night, making the night extremely hot. To avoid this, use huge cardboards and place them on your terrace, balconies, and rooftop. The side facing the sun should be painted white. Create a gap of a few inches between the floor and the cardboard using bricks at suitable positions. The top portion of the cardboard that has been painted white will reflect sunlight away, and the gap between the floor and cardboard will prevent any form of heat from penetrating your home. The best part about this hack is that you can reuse it every summer, and can be folded and stored until further use.
LED lights are energy-efficient and save your electricity bills because they give off way less heat! If you are someone not using LED lights, you should switch to those to cut down costs and to keep your home cooler. Overall, try to use as little electricity as possible. Saving is key here!
At night it is the hottest. To ensure that you get some decent sleep, prep your windows at least two hours before going to bed. Cover your windows with white paper or any reflective but thin material. You can also hang wet clothes from the windows and in your room to reduce the temperature. If you have a table fan near the window, place a damp towel in front of it so that the air you feel on the other side is cooler and you can sleep facing it. Avoid ceiling fans as it tends to bring back down any hot air that moves up.
If you cannot use reflective paint on your terrace and rooftop, you may have to install temporary structures to provide shade on the surface, such as temporary bamboo sheds or coconut leaves. You can also design false ceilings in your rooms. The false ceiling has an air gap with the original ceiling, which creates an insulated layer and prevents heat from reaching the floors. While installing a shading device is relatively cheap, you might need some professional help with designing false ceilings. Use of hollow blocks to construct such ceilings can further ensure heat resistance.
For quick and immediate relief the best thing you can do is just spray water all over the roof and terrace. The tips mentioned are more of an easy, long-term, and budget-friendly approach. These methods will surely help your home stay a few degrees cooler so that you can enjoy a more comfortable life in your top floor apartment.