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How Homes Were Once Cooled Before Air Conditioning Exists

How Homes Were Once Cooled Before Air Conditioning Exists

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The desire to discover a way to cool a home in a warm environment is nothing new. The usage of heating and cooling systems shows that Queenslanders are ready to search for efficient solutions. There have been a variety of techniques and attempts to stay cool throughout history.

How Ancient Civilizations Kept Cool

The ancient Egyptians draped damped shafts over their windows and put water-filled jars in their paths. The ancient Romans utilized inland courtyards, often with gardens and water pools, to flow cooling air into their houses.

Wind catchers in the Middle East were a popular architecture practice that improved airflow around buildings and helped to keep them cool. These were sometimes utilized along with water pools, in which the air flowed through the windcatcher, which was cold over the water before it flowed through the whole of the property.

Mud bricks have been a frequently used construction building material and serve as a highly efficient insulator. They were often constructed with straw to maintain the integrity of the brick and enhance their weather resistance. 

This also guaranteed that they kept the heat out extremely well. And to this end, mud bricks are now fairly frequently utilized in designs using passive cooling and heating methods.

In Malta, they realized that they could minimize the heat entering the property on a hot day by constructing their homes with extremely thick walls and tiny windows. In Greece, they white-painted the wall to deflect much of the heat coming from the sun. In Spain, the effect of summer heat was reduced with fountains and ponds and deep windows.

Passive Cooling Solutions in Queensland

Queensland has long sought the most efficient methods of heating and cooling. We have had various architectural improvements to cope with the intense summer heat, such as big sleeping porches and overlapping roofs, which shielded the sun from the windows. 

Furthermore, the windows were frequently reduced to minimize the heat that might enter the living space. The wide overhanging ceiling on the porch protected it from the sun and allowed doors and windows to remain open even when it rained.

The development of sleep out was for homes in Australia with an outdoor veranda area. Many homes in summer prefer to keep heat inside, especially at nights when there is minimal air movement so that the exterior is cooler. 

The aim behind this was to create a veranda area where people could sleep in the cooler night air while yet keeping the roof protected. The walls of the fly screen mesh were frequently encircled by insects or semi-closed with fine walls and windows to offer more seclusion.

The doors were one of the biggest entry points to a home. In Australia, numerous fly screen doors have been created to keep doors open and prevent flying insects, particularly flies, from entering. 

Some of them featured spring systems to self-close them. Some of them were constructed with unique metal frames to make the doors for security. 

At other points, large bead strings or long strips of coloured fabrics hung from the top of the door. This enables simple access and air movement while limiting fly ingress without a screen opening and closing door.

Creating secure windows that can be opened and equipped with a flyscreen meant that windows might be open in the evening and night when air temperatures fall. Opening them on various sides of the property makes the cool air movement through the home possible.

Black Out Curtains

Inside the home, people would utilize windows with block-out drapes. This prevents the heat from flowing into the living areas throughout the day. The drapes could be pulled in the night, and the windows opened to pass through the cooler air.

Tall ceilings

It has been found that hot air rises to reduce heat levels in living spaces, and ceilings in certain homes have increased. This allows the cooler air to move through the bottom portions of these rooms very well.


With the construction of apartment buildings in the city, balconies were occasionally installed to give shelter from the sun for the living spaces. In addition, some structures had exterior blinds or markers over windows that reduced the effect of the sun.

Final Thoughts

Australian architects have used passive cooling components for many years in designs, especially in the northern areas of our nation. In Queensland, the advantages of this method were recognised so that the need for cooling equipment could be reduced and the expenses of keeping a home cool in the summer minimised.

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