French doors are incredibly stylish and are an excellent way of providing natural light throughout…
It’s no surprise that our windows have become more of a focus when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint and our quarterly bills. In Australia especially we love our large windows and doors.
The Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy has published research that shows that up to 40% of your home’s heating energy in winter can leak out through your windows. In summer up to 87% of the heat gained in your home can enter through uncovered windows and doors. It has also been found that heat gain through an uncovered window can be 100 times greater than an uncovered, insulated wall in the same location.
The sun we all love so much as Aussies has a lot to be responsible for.
Bringing the outside indoors however, doesn’t have to include the heat and UV rays of our southern sun. As we continue, we’re going to share with you some of the ways we’ve discovered to make your home work for you instead of against you.
Here are some of the ideas we’ve found.
1. Shade the outside of your home
If you live in a newly developed area, it’s highly likely that the trees around your streets are yet to grow large enough to be helpful for shade in summer. One of the best ways to make sure your home is more efficient for cooling is to shade as many hard surfaces as you possibly can around your home. Planting trees, bushes or vines in strategic areas around the home can increase cooling efficiencies by 90%.
You can also achieve shading by creating ‘man-made’ shade through awnings and shutters.
Be sure to consider the placement of your windows. For your heating in winter to be most effective be sure to choose removable or deciduous options (in the case of trees or greenery) for windows that receive direct sunlight.
2. Prevent airflow around windows
If you live in a climate where your best option for cooling is to use refrigerative or reverse cycle air conditioners, a great tip is to make sure your windows are fully sealed. This will also help with heat loss in winter.
Using caulking or weather stripping is an inexpensive way to ensure that the cool air inside your home is not escaping to the Great Hot Outdoors and will keep you warmer in winter too.
Another way to prevent airflow is by using energy efficient blinds. Honeycomb blinds have a double layer of cells that trap cool air on one side and warm air on the other preventing the flow of air and therefore creating a more comfortable environment inside the room. These energy efficient blinds act as an insulator for your windows.
3. Block Drafts and Sunlight
Now here’s where you may need to consider a little re-design of your window treatments.
If you don’t have blinds, shutters or curtains on your windows you may want to consider investing in some! Blocking the harsh summer rays from bearing down on your home has a number of benefits. It protects your floors and furnishings from harmful UV rays and it also stops your rooms from heating up too fast. Don’t forget if you live in a location where it gets very cold and very hot – doubling up on your window treatments is a good idea. In the milder months you can use a simple blind for the window but in the harsher temperatures the added curtains can help with both drafts and heat. And don’t forget about those energy efficient blinds. They have been designed with summer and winter in mind to be as unobtrusive as possible and work hard for you when you need them to.
Window film could be an option if you don’t want to cover the view at all. There are a wide variety of options you can put on your windows to help with the glare.
Perhaps you’ve always loved the look of shutters. Adding shutters to either the inside or the outside of your house could cut your power bill for cooling and heating dramatically. It’s important to remember to consider window positioning with the winter and summer sun when considering shutters, awnings and heavy curtains.
Whatever you decide it all depends on how much of a makeover you want to invest in.
4. Consider Size and Orientation of Windows
If you are building or renovating your home – consider how big your windows will be and where they will be in relation to the sun. There are a number of aspects to be considered in this case. The summer and winter track of the sun. How your house sits on your block in relation to the sun’s path through the sky and exactly how you will heat and cool your home. If you are building or renovating, you may even want to consider double or triple glazing in areas with harsher climate swings. It will cost more in the initial stages but save so much more if you’re planning to stay put long term.