How do I cool down my home? Our 5 top tips to keep your home comfortable for summer
With the summer season now slowly winding up, it’s a good time to reflect on the thermal performance of your home from the past few months;
- Was my home too hot?
- Did it take too long to cool down?
- Were some of my rooms noticeably warmer than others?
- Did I spend more money than I would have liked to running the air conditioner?
In the ideally designed home, you will answer ‘No’ to each of these questions, with your home remaining at a comfortable temperature year round.
Let’s take a look at 5 design elements to start thinking about now that could save you from the heat, and bill shock, of our next summer season:
1. Are my windows shaded from the sun?
Shading is the most effect way to reduce heat entering your home. External shading devices such as eves, pergolas, or trees and vegetation all block direct sunlight, creating shade and reducing heating from the sun by up to 90%
You can also consider the orientation of your building to achieve maximum shading benefits
2. Are my windows the best type for my home?
When heat gain is caused by direct sunlight access, choosing windows with a lower Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) and lower U-Values are the smarter option.
SHGC defines the amount of solar heat directly from the sun that can pass through a window. This is expressed as a number between 0-1 and includes the type of frame used.
The U-value measures how effective a material is as an insulator and defines the amount of heat conducted through the window from the air outside to the air inside.
Low SHGC and U-Value windows are the perfect heat fighting combination.
3. Did I have sufficient insulation to keep heat out?
A well-insulated home can keep you cool and even cut cooling bills by up to half. Take a look at your insulation levels or request the services of a professional at to complete an assessment.
Climate specific insulation should be considered at the early stages of design and can significantly impact the thermal performance and cost of living of a dwelling.
Figure 1 shows How heat can be gained at different parts of the house
4. Do I allow good ventilation at night time?
Having good ventilation will help remove the heat absorbed during the day. Be careful though! The outside temperature must to be cooler than inside for heat to effectively leave your home.
Figure 2 shows heat being released during night and day.
5. Do the materials used in my dwelling have a high thermal mass?
Thermal mass describes the ability of a material to absorb and store energy. High thermal mass materials require far higher levels of heat exposure to re-radiate that heat to its environment. Dense materials with high thermal mass such as concrete, bricks and tiles take a long time to heat up, helping keep your home cool.
While high thermal mass materials can be extremely effective in keeping you cool, it is important to combine them with adequate shading that protects it from excessive solar gain during the day, because once materials with a high thermal mass heat up, they can take a while to cool down!
Certified Energy is here to help you find the best way to stay cool and keep energy costs down over the summer through NatHERs and BASIX. Certified Energy are experts in ESD consultancy and achieving the best results for your project. Call us today!
Australian Government, "Insulation," 2013. [Online]. Available: http://www.yourhome.gov.au/passive-design/insulation. [Accessed 15 03 2018].
Australian Government, "Thermal Mass," 2013. [Online]. Available: http://www.yourhome.gov.au/passive-design/thermal-mass. [Accessed 15 03 2018].