How to Adopt a Cooler Lifestyle in a Green and Energy Efficient Building

Feb. 16, 2017, 12:06 p.m.


Is your air conditioning bill causing you financial stress? Do you want to reduce your home or office's’ carbon footprint but still keep your body cool? spoke with Professor Dr. Karl Wagner, from the School of Business at the University of Kuala Lumpur, a world-renowned specialist on green building science, about some simple ways to cool down your buildings and your bodies, without turning up the air con!

Evaporative Cooling: Whenever you feel hot when coming from outside the house back indoors, typically in temperatures of above 26 - 30ºC, take a more extensive cool shower of 2-3 minutes, and dry only what is socially necessary. This encourages evaporation cooling across your body, which will bring down your body temperature for longer.

“Chill-In” Office Booths: In the commercial application of this, offices can provide air conditioned “chill-in” rooms at the entrance of the building - potentially with work stations and wifi. These cooling pens allow for staff to cool down when they first enter the office from the heat outside. Once all staff spend a few minutes in these designated “chill-in” rooms, they can then enjoy a warmer temperature inside their office space.

Instead of pumping up the air con across the entire office space at low temperatures, or rising and lowering the entire office temperature based on weather conditions, these temporary “chill-in” spaces allow all staff to cool down their bodies before they enter the office, and be better acclimatized to warmer temperatures once inside their work space. This saves on energy costs for the office, and means cool air isn’t wasted. It also encourages body temperatures to adapt to medium temperatures in the longer term. No

Heavy Bed Sheets: In sleeping rooms, do not use thick comforters/duvets on the bed - because these do nothing but trap heat under you. Accepting tropical thermal comfort also means the demise of bed comforters! Duvets make sense to the colder temperatures of northern countries where they were invented - but not Cambodia, or other tropical climates. In an aircon cooled arena such as your bedroom, they create a vicious circle - the thicker the duvet, the lower we set the air con, otherwise we sweat under or even on top of the thick blanket. Take it off and replace it with a thin sheet.

Escape During the Heat of the Day: If you have a typically un-insulated house in Cambodia, leave the house during the hot afternoon hours whenever possible. This is because, without heavy air con usage, it is impossible to keep it cool at these times. Offices, shopping malls, libraries and other public places are great getaways during the heat of the day. They are cooled down to digestible thermal comfort zones anyway, and going out for shopping and other daily needs will both increase your stamina and fight obesity (if this is an issue).

Green Lifestyle Jives in Tandem with a Healthy Lifestyle: It is an old rule, independent of cultures, not to eat anytime up to 3 hours before you intend to sleep. Our digestion appreciates this and, instead of sweating due to late heavy meal, we can easily stand and appreciate a higher comfort temperature. We don’t have to be nutritionists to switch our eating clock forward. If we feel over saturated after a belated meal, a walk through the park or more intense evening exercises can work miracles to burn the inadvertent surplus of calories and cool your body down naturally.

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