Prompted by this string of articles and today’s weather, I’m thinking about climate adaptation – my own, yours and our clients.

Actually, I started last night when I pre-cooled the house by leaving the doors and windows open.  Today the doors were closed when I notice the incoming temperature (estimated from the ground level thermometer I have in our major cross draft) started rising. And now that the north facing family room and kitchen is getting warm I’ve withdrawn to the south side of the house where the curtains are all closed.  When it starts getting too hot in here I’ll turn on the fan.  Obviously, I’m already dressed for the weather (one of the joys of working from home).

I don’t need to modify my behaviour very much today, although I won’t go out and garden or do any outside work this afternoon.  Last week when it was forecast to be hot I re-arranged a meeting time to the morning so that it was cool enough for me to ride my bike there.

Actually, I don’t need to consciously modify my behaviour in the heat.  The first article talks about lethargy:

Lethargy is another physiological response to avoid overheating, acting as a disincentive to maintain physical activity.

Yep! I get that!

I once worked in an office without airconditioning.  In the three years I was there, there was only one day where the ceiling fan was inadequate and I went home.  Even then, I’d worked most of the day, so really it was only a few hours lost to the heat.

Using that nifty climate analysis tool Noy showed me the other day,  (although I’ve done it other ways too)  Melbourne’s historical weather data shows that the temperature is above 27o C only 4% of the time.  I know that our buildings are often hotter than the outside temperature, but I reckon we should be able to modify our work behaviour so that we don’t need artificial cooling.  Things like;

  • changing work hours – start early, nap in the heat, then work some more
  • doing quiet work when it’s hot and active work when it’s not
  • finding naturally cooler spaces to hang out
  • wearing climate appropriate clothing
  • using fans, wet cloths and showers

How do you adapt to the weather? How can we persuade clients to adapt their behaviour, rather than their environment?