If you go to stay in any town, city or village, in any Mediterranean town you will notice 2 things:
• Firstly, that the population seem to be virtually nocturnal. Seeing toddlers running around outside at 11pm, while their parents dine at a local restaurant or have a drink in the local alfresco bar is fairly normal.
• Secondly, during the day, the shutters are down and if you did not know any better, it would look like the whole town or village had simply closed. It is very different in the tourist towns, but if you have ever lived in non-tourist towns in Spain, Italy or Greece, you will certainly know what I mean.
Back in my student days I spent some time in Seville and Naples so learned pretty quickly why we had two sets of shutters on our windows – and security had nothing to do with it. The first were blackout shutters for day time, to keep the sun out; the second were fly screen backed Plantation shutters for the night, when we needed the cool air to come in. If you ever forgot to close your shutters during the day, you were in for a very hot and sweaty night as the rooms roasted to volcanic proportions.
As the newspapers have become almost frenzied in their excitement about the impending heatwave, it seems like just the right time to shout about the benefits of shutters.
It does not matter if you choose solid shutters or plantation shutters (with the louvres fully closed), the physics remains the same which is that of trapped air insulation. It is the same principle as double glazing, string vests or even why we get “goose bumps” when we are cold. Heat travels from hot to cold, so providing a thermo-efficient heat neutralising barrier between the hot air and the cold air reduces the impact of either. In the winter it stops us from losing heat from within our homes, yet in the hot summer days, it also means that our houses will remain cooler.
During a heatwave, (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/weather/types-of-weather/temperature/heatwave) or periods of extreme hot weather, the window glass naturally magnifies the sun’s heat and impact, so the effect inside the house will be greater. Curtains with black out linings may help, but they do not seal across the window, so there is a significant seepage of heat during temperature extremes. Although not hermetically sealed as with double glazing, well-made shutters are designed to fit the window frame space perfectly, providing an insulating barrier of air.
As energy prices rocket across the UK, there has been a big push in recent years for thermal glass. It is wonderful in winter to keep the heating bills down, yet far from ideal in summer as the aim of this glass is for the heat to go one way – into the house!
Therefore, anyone who has invested in thermal glass really would benefit from well-made shutters both in winter and summer.
Having become terribly excited about the potential arrival of an extra dose of early summer sun, the hot weather will probably miss me completely and settle over Kent, as usual – yet I shall remain hopeful and enjoy it while it lasts and check the BBC Weather forecast regularly! – https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather