A new research carried out by the University of Oregon measures the impact of passive cooling strategies, especially in regions such as the Pacific Northwest. Passive cooling encompasses pulling down shades during the hottest part of the day and opening windows at night that can keep homes from becoming excessively hot during extreme heat waves.
Simulations of weather data of a severe heat wave in 2021 involving combination of natural and shading ventilation kept temperatures of apartment out of the danger zone during the entire three-day event even without air-conditioning. The load on air conditioning reduced up to 80 percent resultantly.
The findings could be included in building rules to protect renters from the effects of severe heat. This would underpin mandates that apartments have working shades and operable windows that can be safely left open through the night.
In fact, in the Pacific Northwest with cool night air, the climate is amazing for passive cooling. And, this should be taken as an advantage, stated the leader of the study.
Earlier in June 2021, a severe heat wave roasted Washington and Oregon. Temperatures recorded at Portland and Eugene were 116 and 111 degrees Fahrenheit to break previous records.
The prolonged impact of the heat wave was deadly, and was especially severe on people living in apartments in densely populated urban areas.
The occurrence of such extreme temperatures is only predicted to become more frequent thanks to climate change. Therefore, to figure out a way to make homes liveable during severe summer heat is becoming a problem that needs immediate attention.
Interestingly, design of buildings in the Pacific Northwest is usually for heat to enter. Many homes don’t have air conditioning given the mild summer of the region.