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Beat The Heat with Interior Design



1.    It’s sizzling hot.


Well, well, well, it looks like Singapore has turned up the heat for the past two months! With temperatures soaring higher than the tallest building (we’re exaggerating) in the city-state, it's safe to say that we've been sweating more than a politician during an election campaign. From ice cream trucks working overtime to air conditioning units struggling to keep up, it seems like everyone is feeling the burn. So grab a cold drink, find some shade, and let's talk about this sizzling hot heatwave that just won't quit!


2.    Why is it so hot?

 


According to Wikipedia, Singapore reached a whopping 36.1°C in Admiralty on 14th April, the highest temperature recorded in the country since the start of 2023. But in May, that record was broken when the temperature reached 36.2 °C in Choa Chu Kang on 12th May. (Source: 2023 Asia Heat Wave, Wikipedia


While we had some short showers recently, it did not help much as pedestrians crossing the roads in the day, can still feel the punishing heat from the relentless sun.


Managing Director, Mr. Jonathan Tan of Prism+ shared that they had seen a significant spike and demand in their range of cooling devices over the past month. 


Prism+ ZERO Smart Air Conditioner


“Orders for our smart air conditioner system, the Prism+ Zero, have gone up over a hundred percent in April compared to previous months! Even our Oasis Ceiling Fans have seen a fifty percent increase in orders!” Said Mr. Tan. 


Mr. Tan added, “We have seen an increasing urgency from consumers opting to purchase without waiting for site surveys, further amplifying the current state most users are in.”


Experts are saying that all this heat is due to El-nino but no one has come out to talk about how we can heat-proof our spaces or our homes.  Therefore, and as usual, we at SIXiDES are taking the lead to talk about how good passive design combined with mechanical cooling can play a part making you cool, literally!


3.    What is Passive design or cooling?

 


As an advocate of sustainability, I am a firm believer of employing passive methods to cool down a space. This refers to the use of natural elements and features to maintain comfortable temperatures within a home, without the need for active cooling systems such as air conditioners or fans. This approach to design takes into account factors such as, to create a living space that is naturally cool and comfortable in hot weather. By reducing the need for energy-intensive cooling systems, passive design can help to lower energy bills, reduce carbon emissions, and create a more sustainable and eco-friendly home.


But let’s assume your home is facing the west sun, a lot of shading is not available, many of the ID and renovation work had been done long ago, what else can we do to beat the heat?


4.    Methods to keep cool


Here are some passive design/décor suggestions combined with mechanical methods to keep cool and still lower your electrical bills. 


•    Choose light-colored materials: Light-colored materials such as cotton, linen, and silk reflect light and heat, making them cooler to the touch and more comfortable to sit or lie on. As such if your sofa is in a dark coloured fabric or leather, consider getting a white silk or chiffon sofa cover or drape it in a light colour cotton fabric. This will make the sitting more bearable as the sofa fabrics tend to trap heat and especially more so if they are darker in colour.


•    Optimize your room layout: Rearrange your furniture to optimize the flow of air in your space. This is to encourage cross ventilation. Many HDB dwellers always like to open their main door and windows, this helps the wind to travel into the space. As such look at whether you have big furniture obstructing this cross ventilation from happening. If so, try shifting them. To optimise even further, you can also tap on ceiling and floor standing fans to circulate and boost moving air throughout the room.



•     Use natural materials: If budget allows and you are also looking at changing your furniture, consider natural materials such as wicker, rattan, or bamboo for your new furniture. These materials not only will help you achieve the “Japandi” look, (Read More) but it can also help you keep your space cool. These materials are porous and allow air to circulate, which helps to lower the temperature.



•     Add plants: Believe it or not plants can help regulate the temperature in your home by absorbing heat and releasing moisture into the air. You can choose plants that are known for their cooling properties such as monstera, snake plants, ferns, and aloe vera. However, don’t expect one small table sized pot of money plant is going to help bring the temperature down a few degrees. For this to work, you need quite a few pots of mid-sized plants to dress up the space. If you have a green thumb, consider this option as it will also enhance the visual appeal to the space as well!


•    Add shades: If your current windows are dressed in roller blinds or venetian blinds, these blinds will not perform much in blocking the heat away. Consider changing them by using light-colored curtains, drapes, or shades. If you have a balcony, you may consider zip track blinds or bamboo chick blinds. Balconies are already designed to give you that extra shade, when you add another layer of shading using the chicks, the temperature will drop even further. If you are gunning for the tropical look in your balcony, try using large potted plants to create more natural shade.


 

•    Air Con and fans: The ideal sustainable temperature for your AC should be set at 25 °C if you want to be prudent with your AC bills but we all know this is hardly a comfortable temperature and almost all of us are guilty of dropping the temperature as low as possible. One way we can make 25 °C bearable is to consider placing a standing fan in an oscillating mode directly below the path of the AC’s air flow coming from the vent. As cold air settles and lands near the back of the fan, the fan intervenes and acts as a “boost” to push the cool air further as opposed to letting the cold air settle on the ground. If you have a ceiling fan, this method will be even better as the circulation combined with the AC will help make the space cool down faster without the need to lower the temperature below 25 °C! Brands like Prism+ has features on their Smart Air Conditoners (Prism+ Zero) and their Smart ceiling fans (Prism+ Oasis) such as a “Routine Feature” to help users schedule their cooling devices to tun on/off. This means users can plan to stay ahead of the heat curve. There is even a “Geolocation” feature that allows the device to detect the user if they are within the facility or leaving it to make sure to never forget to power off the device/s. Such a useful tool to deal with costs while keeping cool!


5.    Heat is a state of mind!


I used to recall my friends telling me that feeling hot is a state of mind. The true meaning to this is not about feeling chill or calm. That is utter nonsense. In truth, there are many ways we can innovate and think of how to keep cool even with the current conditions of your home. Think creatively and try ways to beat the heat using passive cooling ideals. This is definitely a “cool” idea!


Now if you want to adopt all the above strategies and still have some mechanical cooling devices, you can approach Prism+ for a friendly consultation in many of their experience centres popping up in Singapore! Their Smart AC and Smart Ceiling Fans are on promotion now with substantial warranties. There are free gifts and purchase on purchase deals, right now! (Prism+ Zero & Prism+ Oasis)



Posted on 31st May 2023


Astley Ng – The Designerd

SIXIDES Editorial Team


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