There are many important considerations that you can’t overlook when building a house, including keeping cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The South East Queensland summer presents many challenges when it comes to keeping cool at home. And for some Queenslanders, air conditioning is simply not an affordable option – especially with soaring electricity prices.
So, here are some helpful tips for keeping your home cool in the summer heat. As you can see from the list below, there are still lots of ways to protect your home from the heat, without blowing your budget.
1. Insulate your home
Did you know that most heat in your home is transferred through the roof? Roof and wall insulation are a must to keep your house cool. Insulation acts as a barrier, so the heat doesn’t transfer to your home’s interior. It also pays to choose a light coloured roof that will reflect the heat, rather than absorb it. Have you ever gone out in the sun wearing black and felt like you were melting? Or thought about why solar panels are black? It’s because black objects absorb heat. A lighter coloured roof means a cooler home.
2. Shade your walls and windows
An important aspect of any single or double-storey home design, eaves and awnings provide valuable shade for walls and windows in summer. Awnings are also an effective way to keep the sun off glass windows and doors, especially when you consider that a window being hit by full sun can give off as much heat as a small radiator! With that in mind, it’s also important to consider house orientation, which is the positioning of your home in relation to seasonal variations in sun and wind. Effective house orientation combined with shaded walls and windows helps to make indoor areas more comfortable and reduces the need for air conditioning in summer.
3. Keep your blinds closed
Up to 30% of heat actually comes through your windows. By installing awnings, curtains and blinds, you can save power and reduce the temperature considerably. Closing the blinds and curtains prevents your home from becoming a greenhouse, especially if your home faces west. You may also like to consider blackout curtains or blinds which block the sunlight and naturally insulate the room, reducing heat by up to one third. Simply closing your blinds from late morning until early evening can keep your home a few degrees cooler. And every little bit helps!
4. Shut your doors
Close off rooms that aren’t being used, and focus on cooling the rooms that you are using. Targeting a smaller area with fans and air conditioning uses a lot less energy than cooling your whole home.
5. Vent hot air
Remember to turn on your kitchen rangehood and bathroom exhaust fans to get rid of hot, humid air. They will suck out the hot air that rises after you cook or take a shower, helping to reduce the temperature inside your home.
6. Cook outdoors
There’s no doubt that using your oven or stove in summer will make your house much hotter. Try to plan your meals, so you don’t need to use the oven during the day. If your new home features a generous alfresco space, it’s easy and enjoyable to cook outdoors on the barbecue. And when cooking indoors, use the microwave or a slow cooker, as these tend to produce less heat than the oven. If you have to use the oven, try to cook before noon or later on when the heat of the day has gone.
7. Avoid using heat-producing appliances
Try to minimise the use of household appliances on hot days, as many of them produce heat as they operate. Washing machines, clothes dryers and dishwashers should be used at night, when it’s cooler. Electricity tariffs are often cheaper at night too!
8. Plant your own shade
Plants can provide much needed shade for your home – while installing garden beds instead of paving reduces reflected sunlight. Planting large trees to the west will help block the harsh afternoon sun. Of course, this takes time and a little bit of planning, but will eventually provide much needed shade. A mature tree can block over 70% of heat entering your home. Plants can also cool breezes, as they pass through their foliage.
9. Clean your air conditioner’s filters
The simplest way to keep your air conditioning in top working order is to regularly clean the filter. Designed to trap dirt, dust and other airborne particles, clean filters ensure a constant airflow. Remember, you should clean your filter at least once a year. Unchanged filters often get clogged with debris reducing airflow to a minimum, and causing your air conditioning to run less efficiently.
10. Use natural light and efficient lighting
When you choose a home design that maximises natural light and correctly positions your new home on your block, it’s easy to take advantage of daylight to naturally illuminate interior spaces. Also, use energy- efficient light bulbs, such as LEDs, in high-use areas and consider using lighter colours inside your home. Light colours reflect more light and reduce your need for extra task lighting – thus generating less heat.
Ask about Hallmark Homes’ cool home designs.
Hallmark’s flexible, extensive selection of open plan home designs encourage natural airflow throughout, making it easier to keep your new home cool in summer. We also offer an extensive selection of energy-efficient cooling options, including ceiling fans and air conditioning, that will help to keep you cool throughout summer without breaking the bank.
If you’re thinking of building a new home in South East Queensland, the team at Hallmark Homes is ready to help. Come and check out the design and build quality for yourself at one of our display centres across Brisbane and surrounds in popular locations like North Lakes, Springfield Rise, Greenbank and Burpengary East. If you have any questions about our home designs, including our new Luma Range, or our latest house and land packages, please contact Hallmark Homes today.