Our clients at Energy Rating Perth that either live in an older building or have been subject to poor construction practices may find their building underperforming in the summers and overheating. This is evident from the indoor discomfort and the sky rocketing high electrical bills running those energy hungry air conditioners. The following steps can be taken to ensure your home is cool in the summers and your bills remain in a reasonable range:
- Ensure building orientation to the north
- Either reduce thermal mass by using lightweight well insulated materials such as timber framing with adequate insulation or increase thermal mass by using double cavity brick walls, block masonry, reverse brick veneer, concrete floor etc. and ensure good access to the thermal mass by rendering the walls/floor rather than using plasterboard or carpet.
- Use of elevated floors to allow air circulation underneath the floor space
- Use of high ceilings and elevated windows to eradicate rising heat due to the stack effect
- Ensure moderate level of reflective insulation particularly in the roof space and the ceiling, as that receives the most sun during the hottest time of the day.
- Use light coloured roofs and walls to maximise reflection of solar radiation.
- Maximise ventilation both natural as well as mechanical particularly in the roof space. Ensure the building has access to breeze and that windows are screened/louvered to avoid rain, insects and allow privacy.
- Ensure well-shaded windows on all elevations by appropriate eave/overhang sizes.
- The use of appropriate landscaping by planting evergreen trees that will allow shading and cooling effect throughout the year.
- For hot dry climates the use of water bodies to aid evaporation and the cooling effect to be avoided in humid climate.
- If using air conditioning, then ensure the building is well sealed and insulated. Care must be taken to avoid thermal bridging and condensation.
While it may be difficult to completely remedy an existing building, small renovations to a home such as adding reflective insulation, sealing gaps through weather-stripping and caulking, changing the floor type, adding roof ventilation or changing roof cover to a lighter coloured material and so on can help improve your home’s thermal performance. If you would like further advice on the energy efficiency of your home, contact one of our friendly energy assessors today!