Continuing our Designing for Disaster series, we spotlight Climate Safe Rooms, an initiative that insulates one room in a home as a cost-effective way of preparing low-income homes in Australia for extreme heat.

The project was created by Tim Adams for Victoria-based not-for-profit community group Geelong Sustainability, which so far has implemented a Climate Safe Room in 16 vulnerable homes.

Rather than retrofitting the whole home, which can be costly, the project focuses on making a single room a comfortable refuge to retreat to in extremely hot and cold temperatures.

“The idea of climate safe rooms was to say, okay, the whole house is difficult and expensive to deal with, let’s make sure that there’s a part of the house that can be made to be habitable comfortably, both in winter and summer,” Adams told Dezeen.

Heat kills more people in Australia than any other natural hazard, with older people, children and those with medical conditions most at risk.

Extreme heatwaves in Victoria in 2009 and 2014 caused an estimated 541 deaths combined. Such events are expected to become more common as a result of climate change.

The Climate Safe Rooms project was funded by the Victorian government, which identified low-income and vulnerable households to receive the retrofit.

The chosen room, most commonly the living or dining room, is enveloped with insulation, with blinds and curtains added to windows, cracks and unnecessary vents sealed and recessed light fittings in ceilings that can cause roof leakages removed.

Read more: dezeen

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