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· Texian
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There's several ways settlers dealt with the heat in Texas.

First and foremost, the design and location of the housing took advantage of anything possible to keep it cooler. This includes having outside kitchens to keep the heat outside, siting housing under or near trees to take advantage of the shade, and siting housing to take advantage of prevalent winds in the summer. Siting housing near water was also done.

There's a very famous house design known as a dog run house that was used quite a bit. It has a breezeway down the middle of the house to keep things cooler.
Up in the Hill Country, the immigrant Germans built stone houses with very thick (12"+) walls to keep things cooler inside. Think adobe except with stone instead of mud bricks.
Later on, Victorian type houses were built throughout the state. These houses had very high ceilings and lots of windows on every side of the house. The high ceilings allowed the heat to rise while the windows allowed winds from any direction to be used for cooling.
Some houses had large screened-in porches where people slept on hot nights.
Any kind of swamp cooler helps too.

In today's world, I'd look at earth-sheltered housing as optimal with rammed-earth or adobe as a second choice. Having some sort of outside cooking area is a good idea too.

The major thing about heat is acclimation. The more time you spend outside in late Spring and early Summer, the easier the heat will be to handle.
 

· Texian
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1,419 Posts
One of the best things you can do if you live where it gets hot is to buy the reflective window screens for your east, west, and south facing windows. That keeps the windows much cooler which cuts down your solar heat gain.
 

· Texian
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1,419 Posts
Thanks Will follow through on that
While Davarm's suggestion is not bad either, I put up the expensive reflective window tinting on my Mom's place. The reflective screens are better than the tinting since the screens keep the window itself cooler. This lowers the heat load the window has to deal with in the first place.

Going by my experience with my Mom's windows, the window tinting worked well until late in the afternoon when the windows were in direct sunlight for several hours. That's when the heat became noticeable on the inside by the windows (6-12" away.) With the reflective screens, there is almost no noticeable heat at the same distance. Reflective window tinting and a reflective screen is probably best of all, but it would be very expensive. At that point, you're probably better off going with quality double or triple paned windows.
 

· Texian
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Many people down here put an outdoor fabric on the outside of their south or west windows. It still allows some visibility looking out but shades the whole window. I would think this method might work better as the window is in the shade and the glass would never get as hot.????
Yes, it would work better.

I edited out a paragraph on my last post about the foil working better if it was on the outside instead of the inside for the reason you just mentioned.

The reason is air (a mixture of gases) is a poor conductor of heat compared to most solids. That's the reason double or triple paned windows are better than single paned. There's a small gap between the windows that conducts heat poorly. Gases expand when heated which is how they store the extra energy. Solids will also expand slightly when heated, but are able to store much more heat within their denser crystalline structures.

I also recall that when I was young that many older houses had fixed shades outside above windows that received a lot of sun. Or shutters that would close.
 

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· Texian
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1,419 Posts
There are huge heat storage areas in cities, paved streets and parking lots, buildings that store up heat in their mass, windows that reflect heat to the sidewalks and streets, sometimes with enough energy to start a fire. Then there are the vehicles, exhaust was mentioned but the heat coming off of radiators is tremendous especially adding the AC condenser heat. Even the small town of around 1,500 population, which we live four miles from, it's amazing just how much heat is generated there, in the winter when we have snow it can be on the roads until about a 1/4 mile from town where it's melted from there through town.
There's even a name for it. It's called the Heat Island Effect.
 
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