Traditional methods

Some “old-fashioned” principles of keeping a Cayman home cool, Doak explains, included the following:

  • Cross ventilation – works best if both sides of the room or house are opened up to create draught. Traditional Cayman homes were one or two rooms in width so cross ventilation was easy to achieve.
  • Sash windows or single hung, as they are now known – these were popular windows as they allow the user to control the amount of air that passes through the house by sliding the window up and down. Windows would be shaded either by a verandah or porch or by Bahama-style shutters which are hinged and project from the top of the window. In recent years, Cayman homes had glass awnings or jalousied windows that opened like louvres and allowed to breeze to flow into the house even when it rained, as the louvre shaded the interior. This form of window provided the most appropriate and functional solution for windows in the tropics.
  • Shade from the sun and rain – verandahs were cool places to lounge and enjoy the day or night air. In pre-air conditioned times, the verandah was the place where families gathered. Being on the roadside of the house, the verandah porch provided a shaded place for passers-by or neighbours to drop by for a lemonade and share the news of the day.
  • Shade from trees – most yards (gardens) had a wide spreading shade tree where the family would sit and share stories.
  • Steep sloping roofs – these allow the air to exit the roof space quicker and also the rain runs off more efficiently.
  • Ceiling fans – these help to move the air and provide cooling.