During hot weather, there is nothing better than to have a cool house to serve as your oasis. Aside from your air conditioning, plants can also contribute to making your home cooler.
How do they do this?
You’re about to find out!
What you need:
• A reflector lamp or the sun (the lamp should have a 100-watt incandescent bulb)
• 2 shoe boxes or cardboard boxes
• Different types of plants in their pots (ask your parents or grandparents if you can use their plants)
• 2 functional thermometers (digital would be best)
• 1 small can of dark colored paint
• 1 small can of white paint
What you do:
There are a few steps you need to do in this experiment:
1. Get your boxes and place them at an equal distance from the lamp for equal lighting.
2. Place the thermometers inside your boxes.
3. Position your plants between the lamp and one of the boxes, so that they cast a shadow over the boxes.
4. Turn your lamp on.
5. Measure the temperature of the air after a while. Which of the two boxes has a raised temperature? Find out if the temperatures change.
Do you think the number of plants make a difference?
1. Paint one box black and one box white.
2. Place them at an equal distance from the lamp for equal lighting.
3. Place the thermometers inside your boxes.
4. Position your plants between the lamp and one of your boxes, so that they cast a shadow over the box.
5. Turn your lamp on.
6. Measure the temperature of the air after a while. Which of the two boxes has a more elevated temperature? Find out if the temperatures differ. Do you think the number of plants that give shade to the boxes make a difference?
1. Place the plants between the lamp and one of the boxes, so that the plants cast a shadow that covers most of the box.
2. Turn on your lamp.
3. Be sure to measure the air temperature in each box over time. Which of the boxes has a more elevated temperature? Does the temperature fluctuate? Remove or add plants. You can even change the box they cover. Which box maintains the lowest temperature?
What you discover
During the summer, plants shield the interior of our homes from sunlight, making our homes a lot cooler. Trees give shade to a home with its branches and leaves. This decreases the sunlight that strikes the house, lowering its temperature. During winter, trees and smaller plants shed their leaves to allow more sunlight to enter the home, raising the temperature inside it.
The color of your walls and roofing also affect your home’s temperature. Light colors make sunlight bounce off. These are ideal paint colors during the summer. Dark colors absorb sunlight. These colors are for winter.