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Aussie households lowering carbon emissions through natural temperature regulation

Aussie households lowering carbon emissions through natural temperature regulation

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The sporadic wet and dry weather patterns triggered by the return of La Nia's characteristically lower air pressure this summer has naturally left many Aussie households feeling uncomfortable over the past few months.

Our commonly hot and dry summers have been well and truly swapped out for humid weather, which has ultimately meant that we weren't able to simply open a window in order to experience any kind of breezy respite over the height of summer.

Despite this season's inescapable humidity, eco-conscious Aussie households have continued to take full advantage of natural temperature regulation, these being methods that don't rely on powering up ceiling fans, air conditioners, or on any other practice that culminates in the production of greenhouse gases for the sake of short-term comfort.

Some of the most common methods of natural temperature regulation have proven themselves to be highly effective for keeping both household greenhouse emissions and utility bills low across the season.

We'll be exploring these innovative, eco-friendly methods today.

Insulation through window and floor coverings

If your home's windows are fitted with easily adjustable eyelet curtains, chances are you've had more than your fair share of pushing and pulling your curtains to minimise your home's exposure to harsh sunlight.

This in itself is a strong method for keeping external heat firmly out of your interior spaces, as heat transfer through your windows is actually one of the most common reasons why households may find themselves running their heating or air conditioning excessively during extremely chilly or hot weather.

Fitting your windows with tints alongside light coloured curtains or even thermal curtains may help to reduce heat transfer or potentially even reflect external light and heat altogether.

In a similar fashion, keeping your hardwood or tile flooring bare in summer can keep your home naturally cool.

Contrastingly in the winter months when it starts to get too nippy not to wear socks in the house, you can use floor coverings to keep your floors nice and warm and effectively ensure that your interior spaces are better equipped to maintain their own heat from the ground up.

Wall, floor, and ceiling insulation

Alongside boosting your home's insulatory capabilities through decor and design, homeowners should also feel encouraged to invest in wall, floor, and ceiling insulation for their homes.

Building insulation can play a monumental role in boosting your home's ability to regulate its interior temperatures naturally and with little to no heating or cooling appliance use.

There is a myriad of different types of home insulation to choose from, however, including polyurethane foam, fibreglass batts, concrete, and even recycled cotton or animal fibres like sheep's wool.

If you're building a new home, you'll naturally have more freedom when selecting your ideal home insulation materials, as some materials like concrete cannot be installed post-construction.

The practice of thermal siphoning

Designing your home to suit your local climate may require you to consider a selection of varying design elements, ranging from the materials you use during construction, as well as in the features your home will boast upon project completion.

For instance, coastal properties are more likely to be constructed using pre-treated timber or corrosion-resistant metals over generic building materials.

In a similar fashion, a home with a south-facing facade and many south-facing windows may incorporate a skylight or two in its design plan to ensure that its interiors retain steady access to natural light.

Of course, if you don't have the budget to spend on incorporating new features into your home's existing facade or interiors, then you can at least find ways that your existing property can practice passive cooling.

One of the most effective methods is a simple yet elegant practice called 'thermal siphoning', also often referred to as a thermal or solar chimney.

This practice works on the logic that cold air is denser or 'heavier' than hot air, causing heat to rise.

If you live in a double-storey house, you may be more than familiar with this phenomenon, having to tackle sweltering nights in your bedroom on the second floor whilst a trip downstairs for a glass of water may have you veritably swimming in contrastingly cooler, more comfortable air.

Thermal siphoning is essentially a more complicated way of referring to the act of opening windows or creating air vents on the second floor of your home to allow climbing heat to continue its upward movement from your home and back out into the outside world.

This is why keeping your windows open on summer nights can provide such surprisingly instant relief. Of course, this relief can be somewhat short-lived if your windows aren't fitted with flywire!

Considering solar orientation and shading

As we touched upon earlier, south-facing windows are significantly less likely to let in direct sunlight over east, west, or north-facing windows for residents of the Earth's southern hemisphere.

Contrastingly, north-facing windows can be routinely pesky for letting in external heat and causing your interior spaces to feel hot and stuffy all throughout summer.

Knowing just what kind of sunlight is coming through your windows (i.e. early morning light, waning even light, or the harshest sun that accompanies the midday), will assist you in identifying the perfect passive cooling solutions for all the different rooms that make up your wider home.

Design elements like window coverings or tints can help combat less than ideal solar orientation with minimal fuss.

If these interior design elements aren't favourable, then you can absolutely invest in outdoor shading that will play a similar role in keeping your north-facing windows free from harsh, direct sunlight.

Shading can be natural like trees or shrubbery, or artificial like outdoor blinds and awnings or gazebos.

Many of these natural methods for temperature regulation can easily be amended for winter months as well, so it's well worth taking some time to find the perfect passive heating and cooling practices to suit you and your wider household.

Doing so won't just lower your family's carbon footprint, nor just cut your utility bills firmly in half.

Adopting these sustainable practices now will also ensure that your kids retain habits as they grow older, consolidating eco-conscious living in Australia for generations to come.