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As our energy bills continue to rise, it is crucial that we start to design our homes to work with the climate, rather than against it. Making wise choices about the positioning of your house on your block, where the windows face, and the positioning of your rooms, can make living in your house more enjoyable and comfortable, and save you money.

"Approximately 40% of household energy is used for heating and cooling to achieve thermal comfort." YourHome. So what exactly is thermal comfort you may ask?

Thermal comfort describes the state in which our bodies are at their optimal temperature. Our body temperature is about 37°C, and we must lose heat at the same rate it is produced and gain heat at the same rate it is lost. The main factors causing us to feel warm or cold are:

  • temperature
  • humidity
  • air movement (breeze or draught)
  • exposure to radiant heat sources
  • exposure to cool surfaces to radiate, or conduct to, for cooling.

We can design our homes to provide thermal comfort by better understanding the climate. Perth has a 'Warm temperate' climate, with hot, sometimes very hot, summers and mild winters. Taking into consideration the below points, can help make sure that your home is working efficiently for you.

Windows

  • Avoid overuse of glazing, be mindful of the impact of windows in summer.
  • Carefully size and orientate windows, as this will often yield ideal results with less expensive glazing options.
  • Reduce expenditure on glazing and divert the savings to efficient appliances and on-site renewable energy generation, generating effective carbon reductions.

Shading

  • Use passive solar shading on northerly windows.
  • Shade all east and west-facing glass in summer.
  • Consider adjustable shading to allow variable solar access in spring and autumn.
  • Choose light coloured roof materials.

Cooling

  • If you install air-conditioning, ensure that you use an energy efficient appliance
  • Consider the room size and tailor your air-conditioning unit to match
  • Keep shades over windows in summer to avoid overheating the space
  • Include ceiling fans in all living and sleeping spaces.

Heating

  • In winter, close doors, and reduce air gaps to keep the cold air out
  • Surround yourself with comfortable furnishings, make use of blankets and cushions to keep you cozy
  • Add doors and walls to create zones with similar heating needs
  • Install curtains to trap warm air inside
For more information visit http://www.yourhome.gov.au.