How The Old House beats the heat
Traditional Caribbean houses were designed to stay cool in the tropical heat. In the past, there was no air conditioning, so builders used wind, shade and stone to make houses cool. The location of a home, the direction it faced, and what was built around it could all make a difference. There were also many design elements that kept houses cool. You can see them right here in The Old House.
The Old House was built with a massive stone foundation. This keeps the floor dry and protected in storms or floods. It also keeps the house cool. The foundation acts as a thermal mass, absorbing the heat from the house.
High ceilings give hot air space to rise, leaving it cooler below. Openings between rooms allow air to flow throughout the house in any direction. The kitchen was not part of the main house, so the heat from cooking fires was not near the living space.
Windows were made with louvers—slats of wood that can be tilted. These allowed air to pass, while still providing shade. People in the house could change the angle of the louvers to direct the incoming breeze where they wanted it.
The Old House is designed with windows and doors across from each other, so wind can blow through the house. This design can have ten times the air flow compared to a window on only one side. The windows are at human height so people can enjoy the cooling breeze.
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