Summer Cooling Tips
With the warmer weather upon us, here are 5 top tips to keep you cool and save you money this summer.
1. Use your windows to gain cool air and keep out heat
- Open your windows while sleeping to let the cool night air in.
- In the morning shut the windows and blinds to capture cool air and keep out hot air.
- Install window coverings to prevent heat gain through your windows. Curtains and pelmets work best at keeping the hot air out.
2. Use ceiling fans in combination with air conditioning
- Ceiling fans cool people by creating a wind chill effect. By using a ceiling fan in combination with your air conditioner you can increase the temperature on your thermostat, saving you on running costs.
3. Set you air conditioner thermostat to 25-27degC
4. Keep hot air from leaking into your house
- Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air getting inside.
- Use weather stripping to help close big gaps.
5. Use plants as natural shading to help cool your home
- Vines on a trellis set a few feet from the house or on a pergola over the patio will create shade and cool the air naturally
- Potted plants in front of exposed bare walls help to reduce the urban heat island effect. These plants will reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the exposed surface which is usually reflected back making the area hotter.
- Replace paved or bare areas in your yard with low ground covers.
Winter Heating Tips
When Winter arrives and the weather gets chilly we often take the easy option and reach for the heater. However there are other options that we should consider which are better for our wallets and the environment.
- stop the draughts by sealing gaps and using draught excluders. Door snakes are an easy and affordable option to stop those cold breezes.
- turn down the heat and set your thermostat to 20 degrees C in winter.
- choose an energy-efficient heating system by using zoned central heating, high-efficiency space heaters or radiant heaters and you could save 40 per cent on your heating power use.
- rug up by putting on your winter woolies and use an extra blanket on the bed.
- block off heat loss by ensuring you always shut windows and doors and close curtains, especially at night as a window can lose 10 times as much heat as the same area of insulated wall
- zone your home and close off any rooms that aren't in use. It takes less power to heat a specific area rather than the entire house
- curtain call! use heavy curtains to stop heat escaping from your windows
Using less power and turning to other forms of renewable energy has never been easier. In this section we look at simple ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the green power alternatives.
- Turn off lights whenever possible.
- Switch off table lamps and other appliances at the wall when not in use.
- Use timers on outdoor lighting, or install sensor lights for pathways etc.
- Use the lowest wattage globe wherever possible.
- Consider installing fluorescent globes in areas that are infrequently used, such as storerooms and garages. Fluorescent globes use approximately one fifth of the energy of normal light globes and last up to ten times longer.
- Replace all light globes with energy efficient ones.
- Keep lights and light fittings clean and free from dust. Dust build-up can reduce light output by up to 50%.
- Avoid down lights. Apart from using more energy, they also contribute to heat loss through the roof.
- Try some mood lighting with beeswax candles - but handle with care!
- Avoid having several lights activated by one switch.
- Paint rooms in pale colours so they need fewer lights.
- Join the Green Power program.
Saving Energy in Apartment Buildings
Its easy to save big money in apartment blocks by making simple changes in 3 areas.
Carpark lighting can account for up to 50% of power use, but there's also common foyer, external and stairwell lighting. Changing lights to low-energy alternatives is fast and simple and has short payback periods. Quality LEDs can use up to 90% less energy than standard fittings and last years longer.
2. Carpark ventilation
Many carpark fans are either run 24/7, or operate on timers that don’t reflect when fans are needed. By installing carbon monoxide monitoring in the carpark and regulating the speed of the fans for ventilation, buildings can make big savings, with costs paid off in a few years.
3. Switching off
Aside from carpark fans, other equipment is often left on unnecessarily without anyone realising. Installing lighting sensors, push-button light switch timers, and simply switching off equipment that's not used like garbage room lights can slash the building power use with little to no upfront cost.
Firstly, make sure you can read and understand your energy bills. Find out what you are paying and where the energy is being used. North Sydney Council's FREE green events program regularly holds energy workshops where you can learn about your bill.
A professional energy audit is a cost-effective way to work out which projects to invest in, complete with costs and payback information.
North Sydney Councils My Green Apartment Program provides independent expert advice, support and tools with the aim of helping apartment owners, strata and building managers, make the switch to more efficient and appropriate lighting in common areas.
There are also other free online tools and information to help you do a basic walk-through audit and get supplier quotes, including Smart Blocks (www.smartblocks.com.au).
This is energy on the national electricity grid that comes from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and thermal biomass. Just contact your electricity supplier if you want to join the scheme.