In the height of summer and the depth of winter, it’s easy to find yourself switching on the air conditioner more than you would like in order to stay comfortable. In the ACT, most households spend 60% of their bill on heating and cooling. So, what could your household be doing before the heat or chill enters your home in the first place? It all starts outdoors.
Light and shade.
We all know that small changes can make a big impact. Similarly, small changes to your outdoor setup can make a significant difference to the temperature of your home—reducing the need for climate control.
Protecting your home from direct sun is a powerful way to keep your home cool. Shade sails, pergolas, roller shutters, curtains, blinds and trees are all ways to shelter your windows and walls from excess heat. Conversely, letting the sunshine in during the cooler months allows heat to soak in to your walls, floors and furnishings—warming your home from the outside in.
When planning an energy-efficient garden, deciduous trees (seasonal trees that lose their leaves) give you the best of both worlds—providing leafy shade during summer and allowing extra light and heat to stream in when you need it in winter. Just make sure that trees and shrubs stay clear of your air conditioning vent, as this can force your equipment to work harder than it needs to.
The great out-DOORS.
Did you know that 40%^ of the heat in your home could be escaping through your windows and doors? The air may be leaking from:
- unsealed vents or exhaust fans
- underneath doors
- gaps around your lights
- poorly sealed (or aging) windows, floorboards and skirting boards
- garages attached to the house
- pet doors
- power points.
If you’re looking for a place to start, the most common leakage points for a cooler area (like the capital region) are your floors, walls and ceiling—accounting for 30% of air leakage in the home#. You want to check for cracks, holes, warping or damaged seals.
The power of solar.
The heat of the Aussie sun can be long and strong, featuring the highest solar radiation per square metre of any continent in the world*. This is challenging for keeping cool, but great for generating solar power.
When you choose solar, you’re turning your roof into your own personal power station—turning sunlight into usable energy. Now ‘that’ is embracing the outdoors for energy saving.
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