Article by Nicola Terry
Climate change brings us more intense weather of all kinds – more heatwaves and droughts, more rainstorms and floods. This summer we’ve had a record temperatures and another drought. Demand for water hit a new Cambridge record on 1st July and overall demand was 20-25% higher than normal. How did the weather affect you? How did you adapt?
In my house, here are some of the things we did this summer:
- Close windows, curtains and blinds during the day to keep the sun out.
- Opened windows at night to cool the house as much as possible (fortunately we don’t have a security issue with this, but we can only do it at the back/top because it is too noisy and polluted at the front).
- Kept a jug of water in the fridge for cooling drinks.
- Stayed in the cool parts of the house as much as possible.
- The rain butts ran dry so we worked out a way to siphon bath water into them. (We have baths at the weekend, saving shower water would be more difficult).
But we were still uncomfortably hot. I see Tom has some advice from his experience in an earlier post here. What did you do? Did it work? What about awnings or fans – how well do they work? If we were to plant a tree to shade the house what would be the best sort? Is there a better way to water tubs and plants in the ground? Do we need to worry more about biting insects in the future – if so what can we do to minimise this problem?
These are the kinds of questions I expect to find answers to at the Getting your home ready for climate change workshop on 15th October. Anne Cooper will be our architect expert and we will have Dave Fox, an allotment expert to consult on gardens. Tom will be there too, and hopefully someone from Cambridge Water Company (but in case not I have some slides from them).
We will also look at other kinds of extreme weather like heavy rain. You may not be affected by floods directly but we all suffer from the extra traffic. What can we do to make travelling less unpleasant in bad weather, either personally, or in our communities?
As we know from Open Eco Homes tours, nothing beats personal experience, so if you have suggestions or if you just want some answers, this will be an excellent opportunity and a very interesting evening.