Australia is getting hotter. In fact, according to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), if nothing is done to lower greenhouse emissions, temperatures could rise by as much as 5.1 degrees by 2090. 2016 has already seen record temperatures in Autumn due to El Nino weather patterns. Australia could be in for another sweltering summer.
This means keeping your home cool should be your priority this summer. However, heating and cooling accounts for up to 40% of a home's energy consumption annually, and with the costs of electricity also spiraling along with temperatures, up 70% between 2007 and 2012, it's important you seek cost effective measures to keep your household cool this summer.
Invest in Some Awnings
While awnings are a more expensive cooling measure, they have been proven to cut energy costs by 26% in hot regions. Awnings are becoming a popular method of cooling homes in Australia, and can even help to improve the aesthetic appeal of your home.
Repair Your Windows and Doors
Keeping cool air in is just as important as keeping hot air out. This is where your windows and doors can play a major role. Keep windows and doors closed tightly, to stop cool air from seeping out. Repair any cracks, fill in any gaps, and add weather stripping to windows and doors. At night, unless the temperature drops below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, keep windows closed.
Add Some Draperies
Research has found that draperies can lower heat gains by as much as 33%, depending on the color and backings. Invest in some medium-colored drapes with white-plastic backings to keep your home cool. Draperies also help to keep your home warm in winter too, reducing heat loss by 10%.
Plant a Tree in Your Garden
While it may take longer for you to reap the benefits of the shade offered by a tree, in the long run you'll save money on your energy bills once your tree matures and its canopy cools your house. The shade under the tree will also serve as a nice spot to unwind with a cool beverage on those extra hot days.
Paint Your Roof
The roof of your home could also be a prime location for keeping heat at bay, believe it not. Lighter shades of color such as white, like snow or ice, reflect the sun's rays rather than absorb them. This simple measure could save you thousands of dollars in energy bills.
If you are tired of rising energy costs, and want a new way of staying cool in summer other than blasting the air-conditioning, try one or all of the above methods.