20

Take a look at a passive solar heat collector. They work on the principle of thermosiphoning. The design in the link and the picture below has an additional top vent exposed to the outside so you can close the top interior vent and draw air out of the building during the summer. I've seen more advanced designs that include doors that automatically close at ...


14

Try the simple answer before looking for more complicated solutions. Apply a white coating. They should be much more durable than a simple white paint, and a good quality coating will return nearly 90% of solar energy to the atmosphere. This should make a big difference. Alternately, cover your roof with solar panels. Since they transform energy rather ...


12

@techjerk I too live in India and have the same problem. I don't want to use aircon because it consumes too much energy by local standards. I have so far considered the following: Painting the concrete roof white Adding a layer of roof tiles (placed directly on floor of roof) which allow air to circulate under and over, but keep convectional heating ...


11

Throw a bunch of large potted plants up there - maybe even something edible. They'll shade the roof and help feed you.


9

If you have the property, and resources, make sure your house is tight. Then, dig a four foot trench that zigzags across a suitable part of your yard, taking care to call Mis Dig for location of underwater electrical, water, and gas lines. Lay PVC pipe into the trench, making sure it's water tight. Bring one end up from the ground, above the maximum snow ...


8

Your second question is the easy one: it's fine to block off one register, partly or completely. The problem comes when too many of them are blocked off (the furnace can't push enough air to work effectively). If you also have an exit vent in your room a door snake will help keep the warm air from the rest of the house out, once you've partly closed off the ...


8

Your best bet is already-made second hand furniture, both on environmental grounds and cost. I've been building my own furniture using basic DIY skills for quite a long time and it is rarely cheaper than Ikea-level new stuff. That's mostly because I can't bring myself to build with MDF or other cardboard-like materials, though. Your first choice should ...


5

I live in Chennai, a place which has only three seasons, hot-hotter & hottest. I had tried this coolroof solution, where a white so called chemical solution is painted on the concrete roof. We did see some reduction in the temperature in the rooms, however, this is a short term solution and need to be repeated atleast every year and it does not come very ...


5

There are a lot of good answers here and shading the roof by whatever means to reduce the amount of heat from the sun hitting roof will all help. As I understand your problem heat stored in the concrete roof is radiating into the rooms immediately below. If the rooms immediately under the concrete roof have high ceilings, false ceilings can be constructed ...


5

First, draught-proofing Close the gaps around windows, doors, between floorboards, gaps where pipes go into walls and floors. It's a cheap and relatively easy way to stop a lot of heat escaping, and to cut down on the convection currents that will take a lot of heat from the bottom to the top of the house. Curtains around the stairwell? Can you put a curtain ...


5

The scientific approach would be to turn on all the heating and use heat cameras to see where most heat is escaping. Otherwise just guess it is the roof. I would start with the roof/top floor, then do the ground floor. Then the middle floors last. If you do find that heating living areas makes the top floors unbearably hot, consider moving your living area ...


5

Peltier coolers typically use quite a lot of power, and their performance is poor when underpowered (they often don't work at all, or act as heaters). Your second link above is to a cooler that uses 13 Vdc @ 5 Amps = 65Watts. Your 4.5v 18mA cells put out 4.5 * 0.018 = 0.081 Watts each. In theory, if the panels were running at 100% of rated capacity and ...


5

Yes, in developing business cases for renovation strategies, it is normal to include a cost of money, to calculate the Net Present Value. It gets slightly difficult when trying to create a standard business case, because different households have different time values of money. One can also calculate a Net Present Value by discount future benefits and non-...


4

Positive input ventilation* (PIV) is a lot cheaper to install then a heat recovery system; it pushes some of the air from the loft into the house. The air in the loft tends to be warmer then the outside air. As a dryer house feels warmer, by improving the ventilation you may be able to reduce the temperature you heat to, therefore often a PIV system will ...


4

I'm not an expert in this area, but: I think this depends a little on the layout of the house. Certainly insulating the top first will improve the overall efficiency much sooner than starting at the bottom, but as you identify it does mean increasing the temperature difference between floors, which might not be desirable. If you have an open staircase ...


4

Method 1. Ideally you want a material with a low taber number: You want a material that is very reflective in the visible spectrum, but close to black in the infrared. Try for paints that use titanium dioxide for the pigment. Method 2: If it's a flat roof, and water is cheap, put a pond on top. Even 2 inches of water will absorb a lot of heat, and ...


4

A solution is to grow vegetation along your wall. Here in Europe we see some mansions with huge vines or ivy. It can be beautiful. Not sure what kind of vines you can grow in your place, but it's worth saying, ain't it?


3

It is fairly common to add a layer of gravel on top of a slab roof in many commercial buildings around the world (I guess 20-30cm). A friend (engineer) explained to me that the slab would then absorb much less heat during the day, because there was only little contact between the small stones and the slab through which heat could be conducted. Another way ...


3

I have the same issue over 2 flats under the same roof top. However 1 unit has concrete pavers laid approx. 50mm above the roof top. It's unbelievable the difference in temperature by having the pavers with an air lock. That unit under the paver roof is always comfortable but the one directly under the concrete is always uncomfortable. I will try the ...


3

Regarding the bathroom window, if there's no ventilation fan or equivalent then it's not a simple task to get a balance between avoiding dampness/mould and losing heat. As a general rule, I go by this: if the condensation has evaporated off the walls and ceiling, then it's time to close the window (at least, mostly close it). If you keep an eye on how long ...


3

I have been building bed frames, tables, chairs, wine racks, and many other different things out of old pallets. I look for companies that are giving them away and collect as many as I can store. I figure out what I want to build and the design I want and start taking them apart for some projects while others I'll leave whole or cut like I need. The ...


3

This question needs to consider waste management for two phases: construction/renovation and occupation. During the construction phase the design should consider the materials used and how they are provided. For example, if rafters are needed, it might be cheaper to only use one length of lumber and then cut it up as required during construction of the ...


3

Available data indicates that; 1) electricity usage for water pumping at homes is minimal; and 2) most municipal water systems provide more pressure than required for residential uses Is it common for people on city water in the US to have their own on-site pumping as part of the "standard" delivery system? The U.S. Energy Information Agency's 2015 ...


2

We had student tenants for a while. They made their furniture of stacked wine-crates and palettes (the things fork-lift trucks handle). It looked very classy and they said it was comfortable. The sofa was some garden-furniture mattresses on top of crates, and so on. For a table they lifted the kitchen door off its hinges and set it on two trestles. In fact ...


2

If I remember my high school tuition correctly, you need to put 4.5 volts through the chip and measure the current. 5 volts would be better if you can get panels that provide it, as the chip will likely function more efficiently at its designed voltage. Essentially what you are measuring is the resistance of the chip. This could be done with a multimeter, ...


2

Simple Answer There is a simple answer that does not require significant modification to an existing residential or commercial building. This is the standard high efficiency HVAC answer to the question: Heat air as it enters. Scientific Validity This is based on thermodynamics. The efficiency of a heater is based on the temperature difference between ...


2

I had a new roof put on my house that is metal and coated with a white material (sort of a plastic/rubber coating). They installed it on a support system so it's a bit raised off the old roof. This made it amazingly cooler. That was not why I had it done - the old roof leaked. So painting the roof white will help. But putting on another roof - metal ...


2

A complex question. But overall: No, it would not be more sustainable. Initially, such a design requires more materials. How much more depends upon the ratio of the wall area to the floor area. Building materials tend to have high energy costs; the above-ground part will use 25-50% more materials. Building underground is also more energy intense: digging ...


2

I think EnergyNumbers' answer is pretty comprehensive! Basically, do 'low hanging fruit first' - i.e. the things that have a quick result such as draught proofing (sealing around gaps/cracks/skirtings/windows etc); install heavy curtains and if you can loft insulation, which you should be able to do yourself fairly easily and cheaply. Then you can start with ...


2

A very nice and eco-friendly way to keep our cement roof cool, is by planting grass or any green small plants on it. Just make a square block with bricks and cover it with a plastic sheet to avoid leakage issues. Just spread soil and some manure on it and grow anything like grass or small plants. It looks so awesome on my roof.


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