Staying Cool in the Summer Heat — Class Notes

Class Notes

Staying Cool in the Summer Heat

As we work through the coming week, let’s build on the most recent Weekend Homework, continue our conversation, and our preparedness planning, with a focus on the importance of low tech solutions as key components of our critical infrastructure.

We love the sun and the playful activities of summer! We love it all even more so when we can seek the reprieve of shelter and shade. Staying cool in the summer heat is something we can learn to do using simple ideas, and relatively low levels of technology. These ideas are important not only for human comfort and safety, but also for greenhouse gardens and food preservation too.

We’ll all fare much better when the grid goes down if we’ve invested ourselves in skill building beforehand. Read. Add books to personal libraries. Watch tutorial videos. Create notebooks with important information, ideas, and instruction.

Here are just a few of many ideas to stir the imagination, and inspire your solution-focused thinking!

Zeer Pot
Staying Cool in the Summer Heat
Zeer pot example – Image credit: Adam from

Although the Zeer Pot may not produce modern levels of refrigeration, it does provide a cooling benefit. In any environment requiring low tech solutions, this one is worth considering. It’s excellent as well for teaching and learning about heat transfer and cooling processes. Create your own Zeer Pot as part of a summer project for the family, or find a way to work it into a home school curriculum. The article below is an excellent overview.

Posted at Rebuilding Civilization: “Busting myths about the Zeer pot”

Evaporative Cooling and Geothermal Strategies

Shade cloth can be tremendously helpful in cooling a greenhouse on hot days. Shade cloth is available in varying densities, and is a passive solution. It’s affordable, and easy to use (seasonally or year ’round). In fact, you might find that your plants fare better with a little bit of shade. In the hottest days of summer, people fare better too!

As a supplement to the shade cloth, consider misters for their evaporative cooling effects. These are remarkably effective, and relatively low tech. In a grid-down scenario, supplemental power from a solar powered water pump will be needed to create water pressure in a system like this one. But don’t despair. This is doable! Solar panels may also generate enough electricity to run modest fans for the benefit of air flow.

In addition to these ideas, consider a low tech geothermal system designed to draw cooler air from piping placed below ground. This strategy is best considered as part of your preliminary design planning. If an in-ground, or partially in-ground greenhouse is an option, this may be another worthwhile consideration with geothermal benefits.

Posted at Urban Farmer Curtis Stone: “How and Why We Use SHADE CLOTH” by Curtis Stone


Dehumidifers work differently than air conditioning units. By drying the air, they make a warmer environment much comfortable. They an also help reduce the demands placed on today’s HVAC units. In and of themselves, dehumidifiers draw far less power. This level of supplemental tech will require the energy support of a solar system during should the grid go down, but should be much more sustainable over a long period of time.

Posted at The Zone Hole: “How To Use A Dehumidifer To Cool A Room”

Root Cellars

Root cellars are an excellent consideration for the food storage of any homesteader. These were popular among the generations of our grandparents and great grandparents. Root cellars are often found, even today, in many rural parts of the country. Consider adding a dehumidifier with solar support as an added benefit as needed.

Posted at Tractor Supply: “How To Build A Root Cellar On Your Land” By Scott Bish

Earth Ships

Earth Ships use passive geothermal systems to draw cool air through tubes buried in earth. Warmer air from within the homes naturally rises, and is allowed to escape through vents or window portals. The movement of the warmer air up-and-out pulls cooler air from the buried tubes, and into the living space. Built beneath earthen berms, there are lots of fabulously creative designs and ideas for Earth Ship living.

Posted at OGB: “Earthship Thermal Wrap and Cooling Tubes”

Yakhchāl | © Wikimedia Commons

Ice in the desert! This is the brilliant innovation of ancient people.

Posted at The Culture Trip: “This Ancient Technique to Make Ice in the Desert is Mind Boggling”

“Making ice in the desert? The irony is in the sentence itself, as most people can only fathom making ice by using their freezers, in a practical and modern manner. However, people had figured out how to make ice in the desert over a millennia ago. This practice requires an ingenious structure called a yakhchāl, and was used as far back as 400 BC.”

For more great ideas, check out our post on Water Storage!

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Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well, everyone!