From simple strategies that don’t cost a cent to top-of-the-range airconditioned comfort, there are multiple ways to keep cool as the mercury climbs. If you’re building or renovating, considered planning at the design phase can ensure temperature management is energy-friendly and effortless. But even a few heat-busting tweaks around the house can make a big difference to your indoor climate.
Hot air will muscle its way in at any opportunity, so air-tighten your home as much as possible. Seal cracks and holes with caulk, install weather-stripping on doors and windows, and check over leaky hotspots such as chimneys and ducts. Limit appliance usage to reduce heat generation inside. Use energy-efficient bulbs, ditch the oven for the barbecue, and leave the dryer well alone. Adopt a routine of keeping blinds and curtains closed throughout the heat of the day and opening up when the sun drops or a cool change hits. Proper roof insulation is a must, and shading the home’s exterior with trees and plants can also be an effective technique. If building or renovating, think about the thermal options from the get-go. Hebel’s external wall panels use premium technology to ensure your house retains a comfortable temperature year round.
Monitor the direction of the afternoon breeze in relation to your home so you can harness this free and effective cooling agent. “Opening doors and windows in opposite or adjacent parts of the home will allow the air to effectively move through,” advises Tanya Hancock, principal architect at Hancock Architects. Ideally, window placement allows cool air in down low and hot air to escape up high. Louvres are the clear front-runners for maximum airflow. “The adjustable blades also allow you to control the amount of breeze you require,” explains Tanya. “Good roof and attic ventilation will also assist in lowering indoor temperatures.”
3. Fan club
As air movers and shakers, fans create an evaporative effect over our warm skin. “This perceived cooling effect can result in the person feeling three to six degrees cooler – even though the room temperature hasn’t changed,” explains Travis Simpson of Big Ass Fans, whose Haiku range has serious energy-efficiency credentials. In a standard-sized room, a central ceiling fan installed by a licensed electrician will distribute air to all corners, while larger rooms may require two. The bladeless Dyson Cool range is engineered to reduce turbulence while still issuing a powerful airflow. A sleep timer enables you to set exactly when you require it to be switched off.
4. Window dressing
Window glass is responsible for a substantial amount of unwanted heat transfer. Adjustable external awnings offer shade in summer, yet admit sun in cooler months. “They’re one of the most energy efficient ways to manage heat, by preventing it getting to the glass in the first place,” says Jenny Brown of Luxaflex. Inside, ‘honeycomb’ or ‘cellular’ blinds, such as Luxaflex’s ‘Duette Ménage’, are air pockets that insulate the window; the Luxaflex range claims to reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 49 per cent. “They also have a tighter fit, so there are minimal gaps, which is a key difference to other treatments like roller blinds,” adds Jenny. Somfy’s Thermosunis Wirefree indoor sun and temperature sensor automatically opens and lowers coverings to aid energy saving.
5. Aircon cool
While a ducted whole-house system may seem like the gold standard, think about the areas that require an airconditioned boost, and those that will get by on more passive techniques. Single units such as the Toshiba Hi Wall Split System airconditioners come in a range of capacities, from 2kW – ideal for a bedroom – through to 10kW for large, open-plan living spaces. They use two compressor control modules to rapidly turbo-charge to the desired temperature, and then revert to ‘cruise-control’, maintaining comfort while consuming less power with a quiet outdoor unit. Smart zoning systems such as those from Air Touch enable the more efficient use of ducted airconditioning set-ups. Air Touch handles natural temperature fluctuations throughout the home by managing individual airflow needs in up to 16 zones.