Activity of the day: Cut the sun out (part 3)
Shading for windows only works if you use it!
Making best use of window coverings is something worth teaching everyone in the home- that way, everyone can take responsibility for helping to keep the environment you’re living in as comfortable as possible.
People who are very keen on consistent routine may find keeping curtains closed in the day a challenge if they’re used to opening curtains to show it’s morning, so making a game to alter window coverings at key points in the day may help to establish a new routine and understanding of this part of building physics (yep, this whole blog series is basically a big physics lesson!).
A helpful step by step activity to practice shading your windows is:
1. Check which windows have the sun shining into them in the morning. Close all these curtains and blinds every evening so they're already closed when the sun rises- nobody wants to get up at 3am to close curtains!
2. Check which windows have the sun shining into them later in the day (but not first thing). Close all these curtains and blinds before the sun gets to the windows- it’s a race to beat the sun because you want to keep the heat out BEFORE the room gets hot, but you may want the curtains open as long as possible while the window is in shade for the daylight.
3. Only open curtains and blinds once the windows are in shadow AND the air outside passes the “oven test”: Stick an arm outside or step out (as appropriate). If it feels hot on your skin, keep the curtains and blinds closed. If it feels cool, it's generally fine to open the curtains and blinds. The one exception is if there is a cold wind but the sun is still strong- in this case, you'll feel the heat through the glass if you open the curtains though it won't be so noticeable if you step outside.
These steps stay pretty much the same every day while it’s hot, though the timings will change as the day length changes and with the weather each day. As Autumn arrives, you’ll need to reverse the process- get as much sun into the room as possible to heat the room for free!
If you’re going to be out during the day (assuming you’re not self isolating or the lockdown has ended), keep all the curtains and blinds closed all day to come back to a home that’s as cool as possible.