Waste Not Want Not
Healing and cooling impacts both the quality of life and your power bills.
Here are a range of ideas on how to help manange the temperature
around your home.

Energy efficiency

Most of us spend up to 80 per cent of our lives indoors and much of this in our homes built with low energy efficiency and little regard for the climate.

The principles of energy efficient design are simple and come down to features that optimise natural energy sources to provide a high level of comfort with minimum energy use. This provides increased comfort and natural light, and reduces energy costs and greenhouse pollution.

A new home can be designed to be energy efficient and modifications can be made to an existing home to create up to 5ºC increase in temperature in winter and a 10ºC drop in summer.

The potential savings are very attractive. The running costs of heating, cooling, lighting and household energy use can be reduced by up to 70 per cent, representing a saving of up $800 each year, or $20,000 over the 25-year period of the average home mortgage. And energy efficient homes don't have to cost more to design and build.

Heating and Cooling
  • Your windows should be appropriately sized and shaded to reduce summer heat gain.
  • With large areas of glass, use high performance glazing (such as double glazing)and provide adequate summer shading. Heavy curtains can block out the sun.
  • Cool your house naturally by opening doors and windows and use cross-
  • Install ceiling fans or use portable fans which can improve comfort even in air-conditioned rooms.
  • Think about how landscape design and choice of plants can optimise shading to create cool and comfortable conditions.

Heating and Cooling

  • Daytime living areas with large north-facing windows receive unobstructed winter sun and are energy efficient.
  • Cut heat-flow through windows by shading them from hot sun and installing
    close-fitting blinds or curtains with pelmets. In extreme climates, install double-glazed windows. If buying windows, look for energy rating labels to help you assess the performance of different types of windows.
  • Plan zones in your house which allow you to heat or cool only the rooms in use.This avoids heating the whole house. Split system air conditioners can do this.
  • Install adequate insulation in walls, ceilings and floors. As much as 35 per 
    cent of heat loss is through an uninsulated ceiling; uninsulated walls account for up to 25 per cent and uninsulated floors lose up to 20 per cent of heat.
  • Ducted systems can lose a lot of the heat produced. Ensure ducts are insulated to R1.5. The R value is a measure of resistance to heat flow, so the higher the number the less heat is lost.
  • It's common to find gaps between duct joints, whether a home is new or old.  
    Seal and insulate ducts that are exposed in areas such as your attic or
    crawlspace to improve your system's efficiency and your own comfort.
  • Seal out draughts by filling cracks and gaps, fitting dampers to fireplaces and 
    blocking unnecessary vents.
  • Cover internal walls, particularly those that face south, to reduce heat loss in
    winter. Even a large fabric wall-hanging can provide extra insulation.

Heating and Cooling

Efficient equipment
  • An open fire is an inefficient heat source because most of the heat escapes up the chimney. An open fire uses about five times as much energy to heat the 
    same room as a gas heater.
  • While a closed slow-combustion wood heater is a relatively efficient form of
    heating, using wood may add to urban air pollution.
  • Energy labels on gas heaters and electric air-conditioners help you choose an 
    efficient model.
  • Install zoned heating and cooling systems with timed thermostats. The smaller  the area heated or cooled and the shorter the time, the lower your bills.
  • Don't overheat or cool. Switch off heating or cooling appliances when you go out or not using a room for a while.
  • Electric fan heaters, radiators, oil-filled heaters and off-peak electric heating are high in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Natural gas, LPG and electric reverse-cycle air-conditioners produce less
    greenhouse emissions, but you should choose appliances of high efficiency.