Los Angeles surface temperature, Glynn Hulley, ECOSTRESS, NAPA JPL, August 14th 2020

27 tips to protect your home, city, and your self from extreme heatwaves

Heatwaves are getting more extreme every year, having dramatic consequences for human health, the environment, and the economy. Here’s what you can do to avoid getting cooked next summer.

How to Protect Your Building From Heat Waves

1. Paint your roof white

Surface temperature cooling of up to 27 °C (32%) due to increased UV reflectivity of white painted surface. Image by Glynn Hulley, NASA JPL.
From Reducing Urban Heat Islands — a compendium of strategies, Cool Roofs, EPA

2. Install a green roof or green wall

From Reducing Urban Heat Islands — a compendium of strategies, Green Roofs, EPA
Modular green roof trays by Greening Solutions.

3. Rig up a porch mister

Porch misters From Amazon and Cool Off.

4. Plant a shade tree

5. Grow a shade vine

Shading on residential buildings.

6. Install a pond or water feature

Thermal image of my birdbath on a warm day at 6pm, taken with FLIR One Pro camera smartphone attachment.

7. Install external shades on windows that get direct summer sun

Heavy-duty outdoor solar shades. It even comes with remote control!

8. Replace or cover exposed asphalt

Permeable grass pavers

9. Put in roof insulation

10. Install a cool roof

A cool roof reflects 80 percent of the sun’s energy.

11. Install an indoor water tank

Waterwall House in Melbourne Australia integrates water tanks into the entire building facade. Slimline water tanks used as a wall.

What cities can do to cool down

12. Paint roads white

Los Angeles painting roads with Cool Seal.
‘Cool’ road with CoolSeal paint is up to 12 °C (17%) cooler than regular asphalt. Image by Glynn Hulley, NASA JPL.

13. Add more micro-parks and green space

An interesting example of greening a “dead” space. Pocket parks in NYC.
Each blue spot on this thermal map of Los Angeles is a park or grassed area. The large blue region is the Balboa Lake and Golf Course. Image by Glynn Hulley, NASA JPL.

14. Add more urban shade trees

15. Target parking lots for trees, shading, and light surfaces

Zenith Strasbourg
Examples of how parking lots can be green. Studio NAB Carparks 2.0.

16. Encourage green infrastructure like green roofs, green walls, shade trees, and permeable paving with rebates and incentives

NYC’s High Line — a suspended rail bridge turned into public green space.

How to cope with extreme heat without AC

17. Drink ice water throughout the day

Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash

18. Use a mist spray fan

Wearable misting neck fan.

19. Wear a moist cooling scarf or wet towel

Cooling necklace that you store in the freezer, Koolgator cooling scar, and me in a wet towel.

20. Plan to get out into nature or the beach on hot days

Work outside where it’s cooler with a Sunbox light-weight solar panel and battery.

21. Hose down your porch, walls, and windows

Thermal image of my deck on a hot day after I hosed a section with water. The wet section became instantly 20.9 degrees C cooler.

22. Put a wet towel over indoor furniture and warm surfaces

23. Spray the indoor walls

Thermal image of spraying a wall on a hot day. It reduced the surface temperature by 3.8 degrees C.

24. Put up silver reflective mesh or shades on windows that get direct sun

25. Sit in a cold bath

Benjamin Pelton in an ice bath

How to keep electricity use low

26. Install Energy Lollipop

The Energy Lollipoo Chrome extension showing California’s grid CO2 emissions

27. Charge your EV in the morning during summer

CO2 over 24 hours by Energy Lollipop

Where to from here?

Environmental Engineer | “Fitbit for the Planet” Designer | Author of How to Save the World | Join the movement at katiepatrick.com and energylollipop.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store