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5 ways to boost passive cooling in your home

Real Living logo Real Living 26/10/2020 Homes To Love
a dining room table: With hot days fast approaching, you may find yourself automatically reaching for the air-con remote. But there are other steps you can take to regulate the temperature of your home. In five easy steps the interior design and style duo 'We Are Triibe' demystify the art of cooling your home passively. © Maree Homer With hot days fast approaching, you may find yourself automatically reaching for the air-con remote. But there are other steps you can take to regulate the temperature of your home. In five easy steps the interior design and style duo 'We Are Triibe' demystify the art of cooling your home passively.

With hot days and humid nights fast approaching, you may find yourself automatically reaching for the air-conditioning remote. But there are other measures you can take to optimise your home's passive cooling ability that won't cause your energy bill to sky-rocket. Paying attention to the areas of your home where heat enters is the key to keeping your cool this summer. That sunny spot by the window you love to sit by in winter? It could be a major source of heat during the warmer months. What about your bedroom? What type of curtains block out the sun's glare?

Interior stylists and designers Christina Symes and Jessica Stewart from We Are Triibe are here to demystify the art of cooling your home passively. The best news is that even the smallest steps will help drastically improve your home's temperature.

1. re-paint your facade

When selecting paint colours for your home's exterior, the way the colour interacts with heat from the sun's rays can often be overlooked. But it's good to remember that light hues will help to reflect the sun's rays, while dark colours tend to absorb it.

We recommend you try prospective paint colours on your walls before selecting your final colour, as your light levels, material substrate and colour-matching apps can make a hue look different.

a tree in front of a building: Christina and Jessica from We Are Triibe say that painting your home a light, neutral shade can help reflect the sun's heat. Photographer: Maree Homer © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Christina and Jessica from We Are Triibe say that painting your home a light, neutral shade can help reflect the sun's heat. Photographer: Maree Homer

2. indoor window treatments

There are plenty of window treatment options on the market that will help you to maintain the temperature in your house, so do your research and speak to experts about what is available. But first decide if you'd prefer a curtain or blind, and then speak to installers about what they would recommend.

If you choose curtains, a thick material may seem a good option, but this will also affect how well it hangs, so a medium-density fabric with a good lining is a better way to go. There is a lot of innovation in blinds, especially, that will help to regulate your home's temperatures. For example, blinds such as Luxaflex Duette Shades come in a variety of fabrics designed to control your solar heat with a honeycomb-like structure, helping to keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter.

3. cool flooring

When it comes to keeping things cool underfoot, take the flooring material's thermal mass (its ability to absorb and retain heat) into account. Products such as flooring tiles and the polished concrete floors are high in thermal mass, so, although they look great, they hold onto heat or cold for longer, which means they need to be in the right places (away from direct sun in summer, or in direct sun in winter). And they could need in-floor heating in the cooler months. Timber, on the other hand, has low thermal mass, so, to keep things simple, this is what we recommend. It's breathable, natural and will be more consistent throughout the seasons.

a room filled with furniture and a large window: Installing curtains or blinds will make your home significantly cooler. Photographer: Maree Homer | Styling: Kerrie-Ann Jones | Design: Kristy McGregor © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Installing curtains or blinds will make your home significantly cooler. Photographer: Maree Homer | Styling: Kerrie-Ann Jones | Design: Kristy McGregor

4. spare the sun's glare

The majority of heat in your home streams in through windows, so it's a good idea to block the sun's rays from the outside as well as the inside, of your home. Identify windows where heat tends to come from and consider planting shady trees in front of them to keep the temperature of your home constant. Deciduous trees which lose their leaves in autumn will allow sunlight into your home in winter, while their leaves will offer shade in summer. Other options include adding double glazing, extra insulation or external awnings.

5. sheer curtains

There's no need to shun your beloved sheers if they don't offer enough protection from the sun during the day. You can have the best of both worlds by installing another layer behind them, either a heavy-duty, block-out curtain on a second curtain track, or a discreet blind. Then you can operate them totally independently of each other, giving you full control of the light and temperature entering your room, no matter what the time of day.

a living room filled with furniture and a fireplace: Photographer: Pablo Veiga | Styling: Claire Delmar | Design: Tom Mark Henry © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Photographer: Pablo Veiga | Styling: Claire Delmar | Design: Tom Mark Henry

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