Friday, 4 January 2013

We are heading for a

day of extreme heat - 44'C is forecast.  As I write this the Senior Cat is doing some early morning watering in the garden - before breakfast. I have done some as well.
We know that, despite this, we will lose plants. Some of the seedlings he has been nurturing simply will not survive. The Senior Cat loves his garden with a passion and it distresses him.
There are other people, like our neighbours, who are not gardeners. They simply do not care particularly - indeed on one side the garden is not a garden at all. It is a wilderness of weeds. When they were away earlier in the year I cleared some of them. I knew they would not notice - and they did not - but it reduced the fire hazard.
Staying cool is also an issue in this heat. Our cooling system is old. It does not work well. We have other measures in place. We close the curtains. Our side "wall" of green (vines) helps. We know the power will almost certainly be cut at some point today.
This would not be so necessary if people used it less. They would use it less if houses were built with the summer heat in mind. Most houses are now built without eaves. Once they were all built with wide verandahs and high ceilings - things which did something to ease the summer heat. Now people run their air conditioning night and day.
It is this I wonder about. We are supposed to be concerned about global warming. We should be concerned about electricity consumption. Despite this people are allowed to build houses which are simply not suited to the climate.
Someone laughed at me when I said this. They pointed out that houses in the Middle East do not have the verandahs I feel we should have. I pointed out that their walls are a lot thicker than ours. It makes a difference. I have a very elderly friend who lived in northern Africa for some years. She tells me the foot thick walls of the traditional houses they lived in made for much cooler housing.
Fortunately I do not need to go to work. I can work from home. I will need to cool the computer down occasionally but I can work without pedalling out in the heat. I feel for the commuters who will need to catch the substitute buses rather than the air conditioned trains - and the senior citizen I know who spends his days riding the trains because it is cooler. (As a senior he does not need to pay for a ticket.) The shopping centres will be crowded with people trying to stay cool in other people's air conditioning.
And it would take just one idiot to strike a match in the hills behind us and the situation could be catastrophic but I am hoping for care and commonsense to be shown by all.
Maybe later today I can contemplate knitting projects for the year - if it ever gets cool again!


Anonymous said...

This is our first year in our 100-year-old house in inner Melbourne, which has five rooms, all facing north with no shade. 41 is predicted for today, one of several hot days around this time. We shut the blinds and windows (and internal doors) against the heat and open them when outside is cooler than inside. I would love to have verandahs!

I am impressed, however, that the sun barely comes into the rooms in the summer but much more in the winter. Either very good luck or a smart builder.

We cannot have awnings etc because the house abuts the footpath on the north side. Next summer, though, I hope to have beans growing up a temporary shade grid over the west window, copying your idea, Cat.


the fly in the web said...

We have wide eaves and a double roof with a shade curtain of dutchman's pipe where the house catches the morning never reaches heat like yours...but we're still glad of it in the dry season.

catdownunder said...

Oh good luck with the beans - the vines really do help.
Fly in the web you have HUMIDITY and I detest that. I could never live in the tropics.

Ruth in Ottawa said...

Here in eastern Ontario, Canada, we need houses that protect us both from winter cold and summer heat and humidity - but most houses do neither particularly well. It comes down to the cost of building and what most people can afford to buy. We rely instead on relatively cheap energy to heat and cool us, and when those prices rise, people howl. I wish I could send you some of today's windy, -10 deg. C. conditions!