A conservatory offers you a lovely space in which to unwind. Ideally, you should be able to use it year-round. Here’s how you can keep your conservatory cool enough to enjoy in the summer.
To ensure that your conservatory is kept at the right temperature throughout the year, start incorporating the right elements from the planning stage. Adding cooling mechanisms into the construction (note that this does not simply mean installing air conditioning) can save you a lot of hassle later on. The nature of these features will depend on the specifics of your space and your budget. To start with, it is wise to invest in using energy efficient materials.
To keep your conservatory cool, here are the factors you need to consider –
Your glazing options
By design, conservatories are largely constructed with glass materials and on a sunny day, they can get very hot, very quickly. You will have to choose between glass that’s rated solar gain or heat gain, and you will want to control heat gain in your space with a shading coefficient. You can increase the shading coefficient to as much as 75%, but this may impact visibility. Take a look at the different options and the level of shading each provides to decide what level you’re comfortable with.
Work from the outside with natural shade
Trees are a natural, beautiful way to shield your conservatory from the sun. Established trees in a useful location would, of course, be a great boon, but if you don’t have trees around your home already, you could check with an expert and have some planted. Deciduous trees shed their leaves in the winter, allowing maximum sun to stream through and warm your conservatory when you need it most. However, in the summer, they have lovely foliage that helps keep the sun off and the room cool.
We recommend getting an expert’s advice because the wrong kind of tree can cause problems: softwood trees, for example, can lose branches in storms and may harm your construction. You should also take care not to plant trees that exude a lot of sap, as this can attract insects to the vicinity of your conservatory.
You can also check whether, at any point in the day, the main house offers your conservatory some shade. Remember to account for different altitudes of the sun throughout the year: in the summer, the heat enters via the roof, whereas in winter, the sun is lower in the sky and the heat enters through the side windows. The aspect of your conservatory – the direction in which it faces – is also an important consideration.
Install automated shades or blinds on the windows
Conservatory blinds or shades keep the sun out whenever you need them to. Some automated blinds are designed to work off sensors and can raise or lower themselves depending on the temperature or the amount of sunshine that the sensor receives. Shades also help to keep the heat in during the winter months, making your space more energy efficient.
An added advantage of these sensor-controlled shades is that they can give the impression that your home is occupied even when you’re on holiday.
Encourage air circulation with ample ventilation
You can control the temperature of a room by encouraging air circulation and letting hot air escape. Install automatic louvers to side windows and roof vents to let the warm air out. Hot air naturally rises and to help it along, you could add fans at a lower level, which will help to push the hot air further up and out. You can achieve a pleasant ambient room temperature in your conservatory if you push this warm air out at least six times an hour.
If the temperature inside the conservatory is hotter than it is outside, you can leave the windows open to let the cool breeze in. If your conservatory temperature is cooler than the outside temperature, keep the windows closed so as not to let the hot air in. Installing sliding doors or windows makes it easier to encourage air circulation.
Air conditioners are costly to run as they use up quite a bit of energy. If you install one, use it only at last resort.
Choose your interiors carefully
Light furniture made of cane or bamboo with breathable fabric upholstery is the best choice for conservatories. Leather can make you feel very hot and sweaty.
Humidity can make the space feel very stuffy and add to any discomfort. Humidity in conservatories can be reduced by adding plants. Air plants are best at absorbing moisture and plants like the pothos or a Boston fern are ideal candidates for this space. Fiddle-leaf figs are also excellent at absorbing humidity.
Use light colours in your space to reflect sunshine. This will make your conservatory interior pleasant both to look at and to sit in.