My Zero Carbon

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Tips for adapting to Climate Change during extreme heat waves


Do this to keep the coolest room 10 degree Celsius cooler than the maximum temperature on a very hot day..


You will need at least one thermometer (the more the better) and the predicted hourly temperaures for each hot day


  1. Open ALL windows and ALL doors as early as possible in the morning. (morning larks welcome!)
  2. As the outdoor temperature increases, room by room, step by step, close the windows/ doors in rooms that are just as cool/warm as the outdoor temperature
  3. DO NOT leave windows and doors open during the day!
  4. I repeat: DO NOT leave windows and doors open during the day!
  5. Close curtains, especially on the sunny side of the house
  6. To increase the cooling effect: Put large polystyrene sheets between curtains and the window or hang damp towels or bed sheets over the curtain rails
  7. In the evening/ late at night as temperatures start to drop, room by room, open doors and windows, where the room temperature is as high as the outside temperature (night owls welcome!)
  8. Security permitting, leave upstairs windows open all night


More things you can do:

  • Dring plenty of water (no sugary drinks, tea of coffee!) Fill a bottle with water and put it in the freezer. Take it out in the morning, and you’ll have ice-cold water for several hours (repeat at your leisure)
  • Put a damp towel round your head/ shoulders
  • Cool you hands- or even better:feet - in a bowl of cold water
  • Have a luke-warm shower (not cold, as cold shock can be dangerous)
  • Only during humid conditions and dry heat above 35 degree Celsius, not during dry heat below 35 degree Celsius: If you feel you need some air movement, use a ceiling fan, small desk fan or hand fan.
  • Avoid sources of heat like hoovers or ovens (have a cold meal for a day)
  • If you live in a house, sleep downstairs (hot air rises - downstairs will always be cooler than upstairs)
  • Use a large parasol to create some shade in your garden near your house - thsi will cool your house


Actions in the long-term - preparing for the next heat wave

  1. If your loft isn't insulated with 30 cm (12 inches) of material, it is about time you get the loft-insulation done! It will save you tons of money next winter and keeps your house cooler in the summer.
  2. Cavity wall insulation will ahve the same effect, both summer and winter.
  3. Solar panels will give your house extra shade
  4. Green walls and roofs will significantly cool down your house (and again safe on energy bills in the winter)
  5. Depaving your house surroundings and planting trees and bushes will cool down your house, too.
  6. Getting air conditioning in your house may become very expensive with rising energy prices. Air conditioning use will contribute to even more CO2 emissions, making the problem worse in the future! Also, it will make the outdoors even hotter. DYK, that in Hongkong on a sunny day 40% of the outdoor heat is caused by air conditioning! So think twice, before you do this!
  7. Get as many rainwater collection butts as you can. Watering vegetation around your house, will contribute to cooling the air around your house (water plants during a colder time of the day, after sunset)
  8. Reduce your personal carbon footprint. Heatwaves will get worse, until all of us start reducing our energy use and consumption of goods and services contributing to CO2 emissions.


If you have to go outside

  • If you can stay indoors, stay indoors (ask your boss to let you work from home)
  • Do your chores as early or as late in the day as you can (most supermarkets are open 24/7)
  • Wear a hat, or even better: use an umbrella as a parasol
  • Walk in the shade wherever possible, even if it makes your route longer.
  • Walk through a greenspace/ park, even if it makes your route longer.
  • You will find that gentle cycling gives you a refreshing breeze, preferred to both walking and driving a car
  • Remember:Driving in your car is going to make dense urban city centres even hotter. Also, the combination pollution+ extreme heat is very bad for people with astma or ccardiovascular diseases. So leave the car at home for their benefit.
  • Park your car in the shade, even if it means you have to walk a bit longer to get there

  • Cool your car by shading it with cardboard or aluminium foil (The screens some use in winter to stop the windscreen freezing)


What do you do to stay cool during extreme heat?

Across this website we use the following symbols for climate change tips


Cost of the action:              



Time investment:                 



CO2 savings:                       



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Other benefits:  


Other benefits may include personal health, water savings, nature conservation, better air quality, income for the local economy