December 23, 2014

When the mercury rises over summer, flicking the switch on the air-con isn’t the only solution. If you’d like a more sustainable way to stop sweating, and cut those energy bills, here are a few tips.

  1. Keep the heat out of the house
    Start with window coverings – if you have light-coloured blinds, especially on the west-facing windows, it’s time to lower them. Putting shades or awnings on the outside of windows, especially those on the east or west, can make a difference – or consider shade trees or vines. And you might be surprised to know how much heat comes from all those electricals. Turn off the TV, computer and lights.
  1. Just a little bit of moving air can make a big difference.
    Ceiling fans or portable fans are low-energy options for cooling a room. You could also open windows for cross-ventilation, but not in the middle of a heatwave day.
  1. Be prepared with insulation.
    Seal up any air leaks – good insulation in the roof, under the floors and even within walls can help you trap the cool air in summer, and keep cosy in winter. Fix up any cracks or gaps around windows and doors, as this is where hot air can seep into your home.
  1. Sleep soundly through a steamy night.
    If you find it hard to sleep in the hot weather, try cooling down your ankles or the back of your knees by filling a hot water bottle with ice water. It sounds odd, but it works!
  1. Give the air-con a quick service.
    If you do have air-conditioning, make sure it’s in top shape before the heat of summer arrives. It’s worth having a tune-up to check for leaky ducts, as that can make a big difference to how efficiently it works.

“Clever landscaping can provide natural cooling shade in summer, and natural light in winter – consider a deciduous vine over a pergola on the western side.”

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