Keeping cool in Claremont

Written By: Kathy Price-Robinson - May• 17•08

Deb and Vern Jahnke at home.

Deb and Vern Jahnke, pictured here, are way too nice to brag.

So let me do it for them. Even on the hottest days, their home in Claremont stays cool and comfortable without artificial air conditioning.

See how it works:

The French doors in the kitchen get opened up in the afternoon.

This home stays cool most of the day because the walls are made of super-insulating Rastra block, a lightweight foam and concrete mix. See Deb holding a chunk of block.

This stairwell is the pathway for hot air to exit the house

In the afternoon, when the sun has finally started to heat up the indoor air, the Jahnkes open the French doors in the kitchen and the afternoon breezes sweep the hot air through the house, up this stairwell . . .

These windows allow the hot air to escape.

. . . and out through the clerestory windows at the very top of the home. The design for this house (which was rebuilt after a fire) started at the top to make it compatible with solar panels and natural air flow. And then the rest of the design flowed downward from there. See operable skylights in a contemporary Hermosa Beach home that perform the same function.

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