We talked a little bit about how people used to deal with the heat before air conditioning was invented. But we really only hit the tip of the iceberg. See, there are plenty of ways to stay cool without air conditioning. (Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that anymore!) If you take a look at the world around you, it’s easy to see which buildings were pre-air conditioning and which ones were built after the dawn of AC. There are a few telltale signs.
- Rooms with high ceilings benefit from heat’s tendency to rise. Let’s to the math… if heat gathers to about the top 1/3 of a room, a ten-foot ceiling will make a room relatively cooler for most of the people in there.
- Ceiling fans are able to accentuate that effect by pulling warm air up during the summer.
- Two-story homes are based on this idea. Upper floors were traditionally used only at night – with the windows open.
- Shade trees were often planted on the east and west sides of a home to block the summer sun before it warmed the house. Trees also cool down breezes before they enter the porch area.
- Front porches were born from this desire to cool off – and they became a place for social interaction, as well. Sitting on a porch was much cooler than sitting in the house (both temperature-wise and socially!).