How To Keep Cool This Summer - Ecobuy
Sustainable Cooling

As we near the end of the year, we Australians welcome the warmth and ward off the sweltering heat. But as summer approaches, more people start relying on the air conditioning, forgetting that it is a last resort and a temporary measure.What are some sustainable cooling strategies that are better for the planet?

Our over-reliance on air conditioning creates a vicious and unsustainable cycle – by choosing to keep cool today, we are contributing to further global warming. It is unwise to jump straight to the air conditioner remote when there are many other ways to stay cool. In fact, without practicing passive cooling techniques, the air conditioning can only provide momentary relief.

In this article, we explore sustainable ways to keep cool this summer. There are many natural ways to keep it cool indoors as well as sustainable electrical alternatives to the traditional AC.

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Passive and Active Cooling

To properly cool your home, you need to utilise the power of both passive and active cooling. Households that turn on the air conditioning and do nothing else won’t feel cool for long, because all the cool air they produce will escape the house and be replaced with hot air from outside. Passive cooling techniques ensure against this, and once you’ve mastered these techniques, just minutes of air conditioning can keep a room cool for hours.

Cheap and Easy Passive Cooling Techniques

There are many simple ways to passively cool your home.

Flower Power: Plants provide excellent shade both in and out of the house. Think about how much cooler you feel as soon as you step into the shade of a tree on a scorching summer day. Not only is the tree shielding you from the sun, but it is actually absorbing warm air and pumping out moisture and oxygen. The same effect can be achieved by keeping lots of indoor house plants. Aloe vera and bamboo palm are particularly effective plants because their high water content allows them to act as a humidifier.

Deciduous trees planted near north facing windows will be especially effective in providing shade during the summer. These trees have a rich and shady canopy in summer that sheds in winter, allowing you to enjoy the view out the window. If you’re worried about a tree obstructing your view, awnings have a similar, albeit less cooling, effect. Another aesthetic solution is growing vines on your exterior walls. These provide natural cooling and shading.

Indoor Plants

Indoor Plants

Solar Screens or Blinds: Solar screens are relatively inexpensive shades that can be applied to your windows over summer. You don’t have to replace your whole window for this. These block some of the sunlight to reduce heat gain without blocking your entire view. Closing your blinds and curtains as soon as you wake up is another way to keep cool, although it means you’ll be deprived of the view outside. You can open the blinds and windows in the evening to let in the cooler breeze.

Turn It Off: This means lights and energy-consuming appliances. These appliances require electricity and hence produce heat. Your efforts at keeping cool are in vain if you’re producing more heat inside your own home! You might think it is a small issue, but leaving all the lights on may cost you a few degrees depending on where you are in the house and what type of lightbulb you use. Opt for LED lights as these are more energy efficient and hence produce less heat. Any lightbulbs that are hot to touch need to go. Another massive source of heat you probably don’t need is that second fridge.

More Passive Cooling Techniques

If you were thinking of renovating or fixing up your home, keep in mind that the design of your home greatly affects its temperature.

Type of Window: The type of window you choose affects ventilation, air flow, lighting, and heat gain. Windows are responsible for 40% of indoor heat gain, so low quality windows with poor insulation and air leakage makes a massive difference. For maximum air flow, a popular choice is louvre windows.

External Blinds: An extra tip is to add external blinds to the outside of your windows. These are generally more effective in preventing heat gain than closing the blinds and curtains.

Window Placement: Not only is the type of window you choose influential, but the placement of your windows. Windows that face east or west generally receive direct sunlight in summer mornings and late afternoons, and will quickly heat up the inside of your home. Coordinating your window placement according to the prevailing breeze for optimal air flow is another fantastic way to prevent your house feeling hot and stuffy. Optimal window placement means that you feel a nice breeze replacing the hot air and acting as a natural fan. It’ll almost be like you’re outside, without the sun and the flies, of course!

Windows for Cooling

Windows for Cooling

Insulation and Draught Proofing: Insulation and draught proofing are both highly effective ways to regulate indoor temperatures. It keeps you warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

White Paint: The next time you paint your house, opt for a lighter colour, both inside and outside. White has a higher albedo so white surfaces do not absorb as much heat as darker colours. Some homes even choose to paint or tile their roof in white.

Rooftop Solar: Why not take the strain off your energy bills and install rooftop solar? If your house is exposed to lots of sunlight, rooftop solar may be a great option for your household.

Alternatives Cooling Technologies

Traditional air conditioners are energy inefficient. Thankfully, there are many technologies and recent innovations that provide better alternatives.

Ceiling Fans: Ceiling fans are an energy and cost efficient way to cool the house and increase air flow. Using a ceiling fan, combined with the passive cooling techniques above, is highly effective. This allows you feel comfortable all day long. Air conditioning by itself only provides temporary relief. Opt for simple timber blade fans. These are light, so produce a strong air flow without requiring as much power as ornate fans or metal blade fans.

Cool Mist Humidifier: You might like cool mist humidifiers if you want to escape the dry Australian heat. Adding a bit of ice, peppermint or eucalyptus oil to the reservoir is cooling.

Eucalyptus Oil For Your Humidifier

Eucalyptus Oil For Your Humidifier