Keeping cool

When the summer days heat up, keep cool with these simple, energy-free tricks, says Bella Whiteley

Eden Awnings

Knowing when to let air in and when to keep sun out will help cool a house. Take advantage of the fact that hot air rises and create a natural draft by opening downstairs windows on the shady side of the house, and upstairs windows on the hot side of the house. If there is a natural breeze, ‘tune’ your windows to work with it; open downstairs windows on the side of the house the wind is hitting, and as the wind swoops over and around your house, it actually decreases the air pressure on the far side, and that lower pressure will pull hot air OUT of your home…


The Monaco: by Eden Awnings

Window coverings are the next step to keeping homes cool. Closing drapes and shades can help keep out visible light and UV rays so they don’t get converted to heat, so close them when the sun is shining directly on the building’s façade.

However, if living in a cave bums you out there are specialist products on the market designed to counteract those harmful rays; awnings, shutters and blinds.

Contemporary awnings have come a long way aesthetically in recent years, in direct relation to our increasingly warmer climate. These by Eden Verandas, based in Hampshire, are some of the smarter ones on the market. Gradually now being incorporated into UK new builds and eco-homes where external electric feeds and remote controls can be specified at the outset of a project, they can reduce a home’s solar heat gain by 77% on windows that are westerly exposed.


Blue Shutters from Shutterly Fabulous

These are believed to have originated from ancient Greece, with the very first louvres traditionally made from marble, a natural rock which keeps cool inherently. Hung externally on a house to keep unwanted solar gain out in the first instance they came to be installed on the inside of our houses in early 18th century England, having evolved into wooden constructions, fixed into the window reveals to fold back neatly when not required.

Bella Vista in East Sussex offer the highest quality shutters and blinds, striving to associate with eco-friendly suppliers. All their products are made from sustainable timber, and they frequently cross-check their sources to ensure they are both competitive and meet the requirements of their trade affiliation with The Guild of Master Craftsmen.

Some of my favourites are from the Plantation Shutter range, available in paint colour finishes and natural woods. Made from a light, grainy timber stained or paint finished to your specification, the natural woods give that driftwoody, coastal vibe. Try their ‘Sea Mist’ or ‘Winchelsea White’ for that cooling palette.

Shutters from Bella Vista Shutters

Shutters from Bella Vista Shutters

As a designer I champion the larger wide slat shutter as anything scaled up looks bold and striking to the eye. I also like the idea of using darker colours to match architraves and mouldings in Georgian properties; and dashes of Pop-colour where a funkier look is required, maybe in a coastal home or beachside boutique hotel, can be unique and fresh.

Sussex based Shutterly Fabulous offer bold designs and exciting colour-finishes. Having teamed up with renowned interior designer Kelly Hoppen, they also offer a unique range in bright gloss colours. My particular favourites are Linen, Storm and Opium Red gloss for sheer seductive indulgence. Blue, in particular the Navy and Indigo Blue, look stunning and evoke that coastal look, or the divine combination of blue and brown, nature’s harmonious natural colour pairing.

Blinds using Soltis

Blinds using Soltis

Blinds – specifically solar protection blinds –are another effective option. The leading brand material is Soltis 86. Manufactured by, it gives efficient thermal protection and a more natural light, while maintaining an exceptional level of transparency and outwards visibility.

Made of a PVC coated polyester base cloth, it is fully UV fade resistant, waterproof and treated with a fungistatic coat, it is also THE window treatment for swimming pool houses and conservatories. I have used it throughout a prestigious private client’s project and here it was extremely successful in the pool house and main house bathrooms.


Natural eco solutions
Yes, plants! Just cool it, naturally. Thoughtfully placed trees, shrubs vines and groundcovers can play a big role in keeping your house cool in summer. Air temperature under a shady tree can be as much as 25 degrees cooler than nearby sunny spots.

Air flow and tuning your windows to the environment
Simply close windows and window coverings in the morning before the day heats up, then open them in the evening to flush your house with the cooler air.

Turn off lights when not in use
Incandescent bulbs give off a lot of heat. Replace incandescents with cooler light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescents (CFLs). Same for electronics; when left on constantly they emit heat and waste energy.


Shutters from Bella Vista

Up on the roof
Solar reflective paints help reduce solar heat gain on roofs by reflecting sunlight AWAY from the surface and dissipating the heat.

Lighten up
Painting a building’s façade in light colours bounces the sun’s rays away from the building. Bi-annual maintenance will likely be required to keep brick substrates sealed.

Window film
One of the cheaper solutions for cooling your home. Solar and heat rejection window film controls the sunlight coming in through your windows so you can reduce glare, heat and fading properties of UV rays and can reduce up to 85% of the sun’s heat.

New build or window replacement
Consider solar glass or glazing panels. Various tints and colours are also available.

The external awnings detailed above are so effective in protecting the side of your home from solar heat gain. Entire outdoor pergolas with solar screen wall panels are even now available.

Cooking outside on a BBQ or over a firepit in the cooler evening air beats staying in a sweltering kitchen any day!
Bella creates evolved homes and interiors with personal touches
Created by hand, curated with soul


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Shutters stockists, and
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About Robert Thorpe
With a background in Management Consulting, Robert gave up a career in the city to pursue his passion for writing and journalism. He specialises in writing on business and finance, both in the UK and across the globe.