Now Government wants us to paint our houses white to cope with climate change heatwaves

Paint it white: Health chiefs say to stay cool we should adopt the same measures as homeowners in Mediterranean countries such as Greece

It’s a tried and tested way of keeping homes cool in Mediterranean countries.

But many might feel the latest official advice is just a little bit over the top for Britain, where summer downpours seem more common than heatwaves.

Health chiefs advised yesterday that homes should be painted white to reflect the heat.

All white: Homes in Bermuda are painted in limestone white

Carpets should also be replaced with tiles or wood, and metal blinds swapped for curtains with light linings, to keep rooms cool as temperatures rise.

The Department of Health’s Heatwave Plan for England, which is designed to counter the effects of climate change, reports that painting brickwork white will cost a homeowner around £3,750.

Changing flooring comes in at a touch over £2,000, while installing ceiling fans can cost £545.

Fortunately for homeowners hit by the recession, other advice, such as ‘natural ventilation’ through windows, will not cost a penny.

Those unsure of how to transform their home into a property that would not look out of place on the Greek Islands can ask for help.

Local council environmental health officers are willing to inspect homes and offer advice on dealing with excessive heat.

Other advice includes keeping out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, eating cold foods such as salad and fruit and checking on elderly relatives and neighbours.

The 39-page plan aims to help householders, hospitals and care homes prepare for heatwaves, which are predicted to become more common.

A severe heatwave – where temperatures hit 27c (80.6f) for at least nine days – could quickly kill thousands of Britons.

High temperatures can put strain on the heart, while smog can make breathing problems worse. Heat-stroke, in which the body’s thermostat fails, can also be fatal.

Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, said: ‘In contrast to deaths associated with cold snaps in winter, the rise in mortality as a result of very warm weather follows very sharply – within one or two days of the temperature rising.

‘This means that by the time a heatwave starts, the window of opportunity for effective action is very short indeed and therefore proper preparedness is of the essence.’

Yvonne Doyle, regional director of public health for the South-East, said: ‘This year’s plan encourages everyone to take practical action before a heatwave strikes.

‘Keeping the home as cool as possible during hot weather and remembering the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk is essential.’

The Met Office has already predicted that the June to August period is odds-on to be ‘a barbecue summer’, but given the vagaries of the British climate it is keeping its options open.

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One Response to “Now Government wants us to paint our houses white to cope with climate change heatwaves”

  1. john scungio says:

    Great info about ceiling fans and decorating, I will keep this in mind while I build my new house.

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