As spring is slowly showing its colours in the British landscape, you may already be planning for the summer. However, there is no summer without heatwaves (blame it on global warming). Heatwaves in the UK can be devastatingly hot, even though temperatures often don’t reach the same extremes as the European Summer heat.
How do European homeowners make summer temperatures more manageable? You’ve probably already spotted a lot of differences between European and British homes if you’ve recently been onboard a cruising ship in the Mediterranean region. Cruising around the Med can be a fantastic introduction to cultural and historical aspects of Europe, but also to some of the best-kept heat-management secrets.
#1. Thick walls for the win
Homes in southern Europe are typically built with thicker walls that act as an insulating barrier against the heat. In Greece and the south of France, external walls can be up to twice as thick as in our British homes.
As a result, people can stay cool indoors even when the sun is high in the sky. This applies especially to old properties and rural properties. You may not be able to change the thickness of your wall, but you can certainly improve your insulation system to strengthen your thermal barrier.
#2. They have shutters, not blinds
Blinds and curtains may be cute, but they are not as effective as beautiful window shutters when it comes to cooling your home. European homes have wooden shutters that are frequently kept shut during the summer days. They are briefly opened in the morning to renew the air and remain open throughout the night for cooling.
Adding shutters to your property can help reduce indoor heat by a few degrees. Wood acts as an insulating layer.
#3. The siesta is mandatory to surviving the European Summer heat
This may be more Spanish-based, but you may find similar day breaks throughout most southern regions. The siesta, typically described as an afternoon nap, is, in reality, a post-lunch break. While most people don’t take a nap after lunch, activities tend to slow down in the early afternoon.
Indeed, the early afternoon marks the hottest part of the day. Southern European regions slow down work activities during this time, encouraging people to stay indoors. Some shops and offices, for instance, tend to be shut between noon and 2 pm. Sometimes, activities don’t resume before 3 pm. Scheduling the work day around the sun can reduce heat wave discomfort.
#4. They cook outdoors
There is no summer without a BBQ party in the south of Europe. Grilling and cooking outside is healthy, as most meals revolve only around proteins and vegetables. It is also a fantastic solution to keep your home cool, as there is no cooking heat indoors!
#5. They wear long sleeves
This is not an absolute truth, but people in the south of Europe are generally more likely to wear loose-fitting and covering outfits in summer. This can keep them cooler by protecting their skin and keeping room for air movement.
Loose blouses and linen trousers are favourites on the French Riviera for a reason!
Stay cool in summer? We can learn a tip or two from our European neighbours. Britain still struggles to regulate temperatures during the hotter months of the year. So, this year, why not prepare ourselves ahead so we can avoid the worst of the heatwave?Love Lilla xx