Keeping cool in hot weather – 5 options for your home

Magda Haener

by Magda Haener

21/06/2023, in Design Hints and Tips | Manchester Blog

Even in Manchester, 28 C is just too much sun.

Home to Pride Road Architect Magda who she says she struggles to get sun – such temperatures result in an overheated, and uncomfortable home.  Whereas homes in the UK have been designed to maximise the amount of sun they let in, climate change means hotter weather, and those homes often let in a lot of sun and too much heat.

Why do UK homes often get too hot?

Because of the glazing, the panes of glass work like a lens and heat up the interior like a greenhouse – not pleasant especially at night. Here Pride Road will explore different ways to review and solve the problem of hot houses.

Ventilation v Shading your Home

One way to cool things down, if you don’t have air-conditioning, is to cross ventilate the house so there is air movement – that means opening a window or door on opposite sides of the building to create a draft throughout.

Realistically though, not all homes have windows and doors in the right place to bring a draft through.  So you are really looking at shading the windows in some way so that the home doesn’t heat up in the first place.

And with UK homes, there are often a lot of West and South facing windows to consider – many houses have patio doors, bedroom windows, conservatories, Velux roof lights and lanterns.

In Magda’s experience there are five shading strategies to consider – each one appropriate for different homes:

A More Permanent Fix – Sliding Blinds

If there is space one can install sliding blinds on the outside of the building.  Like this project she designed where there is only a shallow recess and the windows are exposed.  The blinds allow you to see out, and as they are deep they do not let in the sun (right).  In wintertime the blinds slide away until they are needed again (left).

A quick fix alternative

One summer Magda installed white sheets on the outside of some of her windows to stops UV rays reaching the glazing. It drove down the temperature inside considerably, leading to a more comfortable living room and bedroom.

A temporary, emergency fix – great for sudden heatwaves like the Spring of 2022.

The flexible option

This is a permanent solution and looks great and works really well.  It involves a frame or pergola from which a shade sail or sliding roman blinds are hung.  The beauty of this solution is that shade can be cast not just over the house, but also the patio / eating area in the garden.

And when shade isn’t needed, the blinds retract.

Off the shelf option

Thes are retractable awnings fixed above the door and/or windows or external blinds for Velux roof lights.  These can be fitted retrospectively, although you need to make sure the right blinds are specified if you have, for example,  tilt-opening windows.

The gardening option

A long term project can be to grow a vine or climber like wisteria on a trellis to provide shade.  This will take a few years to establish, and is a fantastic option that drops its leaves in the winter and provides leafy shade in the summer – not to mention that added bonus of (probably) giving a harvest of grapes or some beautiful purple flowers!


Magda says her preferred option, simply because it is so flexible, are roman sail blinds.  “I think they are great because they can be stretched above the patio in front of your glass doors and not only provide shade for the windows but also give shade  for the  patio where it might be possible to eat lunch if it weren’t for the full sun…..”