How do you keep a house cool in summer without air conditioning?
We built a small cabin with a loft. The floors and ceiling are well insulated at R-40 and R-60 We are off grid, and have a well and hand filled cistern
The problem is the walls are 4 inch hardwood (R-2?). We have a woodstove that can heat the whole place, and overheat it if your not careful. so even when we went ther when it was -30 we can keep it toasty warm. We cannot however, keep it from becoming horrendously hot in summer. And although we have planted my trees for shade it will be 10-15 years before they help. How can we keep it cooler in summer?
There are some clever ways to keep a house cool in summer without A/C, but in your case I think your walls being uninsulated is definitely speeding up the warming process. Hardwood is around R1 per inch so you may well have about R4. For both summer and winter you would probably benefit from more insulation. Even if you are cutting wood from your own land, its still a matter of labor, and also, the less stuff we burn the better. There are a couple of pages I would point you to, this one on keeping cool may offer some tips you could try –
How to keep a house cool in summer without A/C
As for your walls, is there anyway you can add insulation to the exterior? R4 isn’t much, but there is also the matter of it acting as thermal mass as well. So once it has heated up in the day, it can take a long time in the evening and night to cool down, so during that time the wood is releasing heat back into the cabin while you’re trying to sleep. R40 and R60 for floors and ceilings is great, but that’s like having some awesome snowpants and a big furry hat but no winter coat. There really isn’t a benefit to that much insulation in some places and not in others, see here –
The importance of balancing insulation in a home
I hope some of those tips work for you, but if possible I would aim from wall insulation if possible.