Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Keep Your Cool This Summer

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Keep Your Cool This Summer

Article excerpt

AS THE mercury rises you'll probably soon find yourself reaching for the air conditioning. Yet that nagging part in the back of your brain keeps telling you to sweat it out -- think of the environment, it says, and the hip pocket.

If that sounds like you, don't worry.

There's many simple, energy efficient ways to keep the house cool.

Here's a few to get you thinking...

Passive cooling

Passive cooling (or non-mechanical cooling) is the least expensive way of cooling a home -- financially and environmentally.

It's basic purpose is to control heat gain and help heat to dissipate in a building through its architectural design, thus improving the indoor temperature and comfort levels with little or no energy consumption.

Passive cooling is about taking steps to cool down the house without air-con or fans.

There are many ways you can design or modify your home to achieve comfort through passive cooling, as well as hybrid approaches which utilise mechanical cooling systems like timed use of your air-con.

deck with sun shade

Home design elements that influence passive cooling

The kind of steps you need to implement to achieve passive cooling are largely dictated by the climate. You'll need take into account whether you need to simply cool your home, or use both cooling and heating techniques during the warmer and colder seasons.

Trees can help insulate your home

The property's aspect and position in relation to the sun -- and things like shade from trees -- also play a big role in discouraging or encouraging heat. Planning good insulation is easy to do if you are building from scratch but most homeowners don't have this luxury.

There are cheap and simple things you can do to any house to assist with insulating, like:

Shading your east, north or west facing windows with awnings, shutters, louvres, or screens;

Adding thick blinds or curtains;

Adding a protective tint to the windows or glass doors, and

Sealing gaps to keep heat out. …

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