Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hawaii house retrofit with paper shades

After a year living on the  Kohala coast on the Big Island of Hawaii, we are really enjoying the dry wind and clear, blue skies.   Living in the Kohala desert climate has been a very different experience than our previous years in rainy Hilo and humid Kona.  The summer sun can be ferocious in Kohala and our living room can become a solar oven from sunlight streaming through the windows during the day.  

In the book, “Your Ideal Hawaii Home: How to avoid disaster when buying or building in Hawaii”,  we mention that Hawaii style houses with long eaves that protect from the sun are the most desirable places to live.  Ironically, the place we currently live has three sets of windows on one wall of the living room that extend up two stories high.  During three months of the year, the sun is perfectly located to shine directly through the wall of windows and like a magnifying glass the contents and people in the room below are cooked.  The eaves along the top of the building are about 2 feet too short to protect the windows from the sun.    Though the lower windows have coverings, the upper windows are only tinted.  Even with the tinting treatment, we have gotten sunburned sitting on the couch.  

Our retrofit solution is to cover the upper windows and block the sunlight.  The big challenge is that the windows are 20’ high  which is too high to access with most ladders.   Our first attempt was to push cardboard into the upper window crevice with a pole, but air currents pushed the cardboard out of place no matter how we tried to secure them and they came crashing down on us at random times.  Installing any heavy window covering at that height is dangerous to anyone sitting below.

We recently found an inexpensive solution to the problem by installing temporary paper shades. We hired a local handyman to bring his extra long ladder and install them for us.  The light-weight shades  stick to the top of the window.  Since they are light, air currents only cause them flutter. They look great, far better than cardboard, and the temperature in the living room during the day has gone down by several degrees.

These paper shades are  popular in Hawaii and sold at many hardware stores.  Although, the hardware stores we checked, were sold out of the large sizes we needed, so we bought our White paper Redi-Shade through Amazon.  


Anne Leah said...

Wow. This is wonderful. Thanks for providing us a DIY window shades. I plan to improvise my own too and use cloth that will match my pillows and cushions at home.

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