Nick asked,"What is the most acceptable way of cooling down a house?"
I think the most acceptable way is to stop it getting hot in the first place! My shed now has foil-backed bubble wrap inside the roof and on the windows, which reflects heat back out - between the foil and the roof the temperature was about 46 degrees; in the shed it was a mere 30 degrees while the outside temperature was 27 degrees. In our baby's room I've put the same stuff on the windows (kitchen foil would do), as well as a blackout blind, plus we keep all the curtains shut on the side of the house that gets the sun. Oh, and open windows on both sides of the house to get a breeze through - even if there's no wind you should get a bit of movement through convection.
After that, paint the roof white (ideally silver), grow tall trees on the north and west sides, face the house south and have minimal size windows on the west side, use shutters and have an overhang over all the windows to reduce the heat coming in in the middle of the day. Um, not too practical for a rented house though :-)