Our energy assessors at Energy Rating Perth urge our readers to always be climate ready. While our older homes and buildings may not be as energy efficient as the newer constructions, small steps and alterations to your activities can result in a thermally stable home without the expensive renovations. The following tips are important for staying warm in the winter of Perth:
- The sun is your friend for the winter:
If the glazing is well designed in your home, you can maximise your solar gain by opening all blinds in your home and allowing full sun penetration to altogether avoid or reduce the need of mechanical heating systems. Especially if you have a polished concrete floor, taking off rugs and moving the furniture out of the windows may help “charge” your thermal mass so it radiates the heat at night as well. Invest in retractable shading devices as the low angled winter sun may not penetrate through the long traditional eaves. If you have evergreen trees planted around your home, trim the branches enough to reduce the foliage volume. This would help maximise the solar gain. If you would like to know more about improving the solar access of your home, read our blog on poor solar access.
- Use Gas heaters instead of electric:
Most people are misunderstood that electric heaters are more efficient to run. Yes, in terms of energy input and output, an electric heater is 100% efficient as it converts all electrical energy into heat while a gas hater is about 90% efficient but when considering the primary input of energy i.e. electricity comes from coal powered stations in which only 30% of the primary energy from the coal reaches your home while for gas it is about 72%. In simpler terms, you will need more electricity input to your home to power the electric heater as compared to the gas supplied to your home making it cheaper to run and produces far less greenhouse gas emissions.
- Check Faulty insulation:
Building defects like condensation can affect the efficiency of the insulation’s thermal resistance over time especially in the roof area if it is not well ventilated. These roof spaces can siphon the heat from your home and the underperforming insulation lets it escape into the environment. Make sure to have your insulation regularly inspected and keep your roof ventilators in working order.
- Ensure your home is well-sealed:
The biggest enemy to a warm interior is cold draughts and air infiltration. Ensure all doors and windows remain closed to capitalise on the heat gain from the sun. Even interior doors for spaces that are not used frequently during the day i.e. bedrooms, laundry etc. should be closed. Ensure all gaps and cracks are well sealed. Invest in weather-stripping/caulking especially if it is worn out.
- Dress warm, huddle up and start baking!
Although we may like to roam in our comfortable shorts all day, it is advisable to wear warmer clothes indoor to stay warm rather than blasting the heater. Our activities produce body heat that has quite an effect on the ambient temperature, using the same living space during the day helps keep your home warm. Kitchen activities like using the stove and oven can also help raise the temperature but whenever possible, try and keep the kitchen exhaust off to trap the heat from the stove and oven indoors.
Our energy assessors at Energy Rating Perth recommend using passive solar design techniques and improving user of space habits to take advantage of the climate rather than defend against it. A little investment into these measures will result in savings over the long run and eventually reduce the home’s carbon footprint.