That’s what it takes to keep me working in my tiny apartment with southern exposure. All day sun and the heat that comes with it. I worried for months in advance due to the memory of previous summers’ heat, acrid air, and pollution. It billowed in from British Columbia’s increasingly dangerous, longer, and life-changing forest fire season.
Creativity at work begins first with creativity in making my space comfortable. Does my ‘hack’ work?
Yes. Aluminum foil I got from the dollar store defends in sparse vertical strips taped to the inside of the bedroom windows. Can’t have total darkness after all. The chocolate brown perforated blind rolls down the temp a bit and the opaque off-white drapes on top add another layer of cooling.
The only other set of windows is my beautiful floor-to-ceiling sliding door opening onto a little peach-coloured balcony. Fully leafed by early May, the Maple tree guarding me from its place 2 stories below mine, offers green relief for the eyes but is not so much a barrier to the heat.
Brilliant sunlight all day is a gift in an often rainy, or overcast city. But, the heat dome of a few years ago that turned non-air conditioned shelters of any kind into hot boxes and the subsequent summers have us all on alert. Climate change. Well, we knew about it in the 60s when school children learned the word: hydrofluorocarbons.
We eyed our cups for hot beverages, with suspicion. The white texture material was known since the early 1800s, but mass-produced as coffee cups in the 1960s and trademarked as Styrofoam. They had something to do with thinning the ozone layer that protected us from that world beyond. That layer was only pierced by the space programs the USA and others raced to develop and with them dominate the skies.
Poly everything was another word. Polystyrene covers a whole family of plastics, used in many forms, but its role in various forms of foam has a disproportional environmental impact. And, for all our efforts to go greener, we reverted big time during COVID caution and lockdowns to plastic, right? (Read: Why you want to bring your own cups article here)
So, the old-fashioned fans that I bring out for summer use, tilt and oscillate. I turn them on, up, and off manually and position them strategically around my home. There are now 4 fans of various sizes (3 desks and 1 tower) and 2 in addition that are air purifiers (2 towers) each serving a different area of circulation, not all at once.
They move around the air, kept cooler by strips of tin foil at 1/3 the price for the same brand names, at the dollar store. The season’s moderation of the sun’s penetration into my home begins with the sound of a sheet rolling out, getting ripped on the serrated metal edge of the box. It is followed by the steady sound of unsticking as the packing tape I found, or the masking tape separates out from the roll and helps to affix the foil.
This is how I manage bearable working and living conditions.
Oh, and water. Hydration is so important yet with this year’s new constraints on my mobility, I totally get what I didn’t understand before about seniors perishing in place. The ability to make it consistently from one room to another to fill a glass with water and potentially save their lives seems to diminish in the heat.
Remember to check on someone else, too, because the heat is ON!