As we swelter through another heat wave in Perth, it may be very tempting to crank up the air conditioner or head to the nearest cinema or shopping centre.
So when we saw an article on how to keep cool without ramping up your power bill written by an experienced building designer with a Masters degree in sustainable design it caught our attention.
He says there are a number of measures we can all take to reduce the internal temperature of our homes at various times of the day to the point where the need for air conditioning will be reduced, saving money.
His number one tip is to protect your home from the sun during the hottest part of the day.
Lower temperatures in the home at the start and end of the day by opening all doors and windows, using cross ventilation to draw a breeze through.
Then, as the mercury rises, close all the openings and window treatments (as a lot of heat transference comes via glass windows) to reduce radiant heat from entering.
Block-out shutters or external venetians are great options but if you don’t have the budget to retrofit your windows you can simply call in to your local nursery and invest in a small tree with a good-sized canopy to plant near your windows to the east and west of your home.
There should be no need to run your air conditioner well into the evening when the temperatures have dropped by ten to fifteen degrees. Reducing the running time of your air conditioning by as little as an hour a day will result in a significant saving on your power bill at the end of the quarter.
Furthermore, opening your windows to let fresh air in will also improve indoor air quality, which is particularly important for people with allergies and respiratory conditions like asthma.
If you intend to make some structural changes to your home to make it more sustainable, here are a few tips:
• Install louvred widows to the southern and northern ends of the house. Given hot air rises, this feature will expel hot air and draw cool air in.
• Minimise the use of brick and concrete externally as they are very effective at storing heat.
• Soft, cool landscape features such as a pool, water feature, timber decking and soft soil gardens are excellent for combatting heat transference.
• Wall and ceiling insulation is a must, especially in hotter areas (the higher the R-value rating, the more heat resistant the insulation).
Stay cool. Autumn is just around the corner.