Shade windows in preparation for summer
Windows and shading are the most critical elements in passive cooling. Windows are the main source of heat gain, via direct radiation and conduction.
North facing windows/opening
Provide passive solar shading to all north-facing openings such as adjustable awnings or horizontal louvre systems and removable shade cloth over pergolas or sails. Shade cloth is a particularly flexible and low cost solution.
East and west windows/opening
Use adjustable shade screens or deep overhangs to the east and west. Adjustable shade screens exclude low angle sun the most effectively. Appropriate adjustable systems include sliding screens, louvre screens, shutters, retractable awnings and adjustable external blinds.
More info to design your new window shades.
Install a ceiling fan instead of air conditioner
Fans don't reduce actual room temperature or humidity levels, but produce a cooling effect by moving air around and over your skin, helping to evaporate excess moisture. When purchasing a fan, it must have a variable speed control and be reversible to assist with heating in the winter.
The whole house fan pulls air in from open windows and exhausts it through the attic and roof. It provides good attic ventilation in addition to whole house cooling. Check with a professional to determine what is appropriate for your home. The system will need to be located over a walk-through area,eg a hallway or top of a staircase. Adequate roof exhaust vents are required for high-volume airflow.
Install an energy efficient air conditioner
If you need an air conditioner make sure you chose the right one. Get the right cooling system and you’ll not only save energy, you won’t be wasting your money either. Every extra star on the energy rating label can save around 10 per cent on the running costs of an air-conditioner. More information on how to choose an air conditioner. Use the Energy Rating Calculator to compare the running costs of electrical appliances before you decide whether to buy.
Plant a tree or large bush for shade/wind break
Trees make a great focal point in any garden and provide protection from the harsh western sun. In winter they can protect your house from cold winds. Some of them have big spreading canopies that give respite from the harsh summer sun and some just grow straight up. There are a few things to take into consideration when choosing a shade tree for your garden:
- Position – if placed correctly trees can provide protection from the harsh western sun
- Species – choose native species that are local to the area, they attract birds and beneficial insects to your garden while providing you with shade or protection from wind
- Soil type