Tips to save energy and keep your house cool in the heatwave

News posted on 18.02.2014

Renew Economy has reported (13/01/14) on five simple sustainable and energy efficient steps to keep your home cool throughout this record-breaking heat.

The Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) says that 38 per cent of a households energy bill is due to cooling and heating.

Firstly, it is important to know which direction the sun is coming from. Much of the unwanted summer heat can be stopped entering the home by facing windows towards the north.

Home insulation is an important upgrade to consider as it will keep the house cooler in summer and warmer in winter. A key factor is having the right amount of roof and ceiling insulation in place. Bulk insulation such as fibreglass batts is best for the ceiling.

Another ABSA tip is to allow the roof to overhang the external walls by 500-600 mm. This ensures that the direct sun is reduced and it helps prevent overheating.

Choosing a reflective light colour for external surfaces, especially the roof, will help to reflect solar radiation. Air conditioning will work 20 per cent as hard in a house with lighter colours.

Avoid bare metal finishes such as glavanized roofs. A lot of visible light will be reflected however a galvanized roof will cause the house to heat up by absorbing infrared radiation.

Placement of windows and doors in the right place will help you take advantage of cool afternoon or evening breezes which naturally cool down the house. Consider choosing sliding and casement windows which provide more ventilation than awning windows.

Roger Hills, ABSA's CEO, says that in order to future-proof our homes from rising energy costs and demands it is vital to improve our housing stock. With what is known about the effects of a changing climate, it is critical for all Australians to consider the design and construction of energy efficient housing.