In my top floor space, the scorching temperatures have been pushing me to find non-electric ways of cooling the place down to mitigate air conditioner use. When the sun blasts into my space in the late afternoon, raising the temperature and pushing me to turn up my AC’s, I reluctantly pull down the honeycomb shades on the window to block the lovely view completely. The terrace door is the only glass that has no window treatment; in desperation I sought short-term ways to block the ferocious sun.

I turned to the material that seemed most likely to provide insulation: foam core leftover from the many life-size prototypes I’ve built from it to visualize projects like my bookshelf wall bed

Sally Schneider

…and a new refrigerator cabinet, after my previous one got wrecked in a flood (I still haven’t had the replacement made but I know what it will look like…)

Sally Schneider

Foam Core is wonderful stuff: lightweight and sturdy.  I buy it in big 96-x-48-1/2-inch sheets at the local art store. It is easy to cut with my trusty Olfa utility knife.

Sally Schneider

So I went to work, cutting three 12-inch-wide vertical panels to the height of the terrace door.  Then I pushed two of them side-by-side and applied white artist’s tape along the seam, so they would form a fold. I taped the third panel so that it would fold in the opposite direction, to make a standing screen. It looks a little like the shutters used in hot, tropical countries to block the midday sun.

I used a Digi instant-read thermometer to take the temperature in the room and in the space between the Foam Core screen and the door; it showed a difference of fifteen degrees, a significant amount. My space has been noticeably cooler.

There are lots of ways to innovate on this simple screen idea: add additional panels, make them wider.  I once made a terrific room partition by taping two full 96-x-28-inch sheets together…

If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

Support Improvised Life ♥

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *