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Nature-Based Cooling Strategies

Managing Solar Heat Gain

Managing solar heat gain can reduce energy bills and keep our homes at a more comfortable temperature throughout the year. Reducing the amount of summer sun hitting windows and walls, while allowing the winter sun to warm your house can reduce heating and cooling needs.

Deciduous Trees & Vines

In summer, eaves are often enough to protect north facing walls and windows. However, east-facing windows and walls can be a major source of heat gain in the morning, while west-facing windows and walls can be a major source of heat gain in the afternoon. This is where deciduous trees and vines come in! Deciduous trees and vines to the east and west, will reduce heat gain during summer but allow the winter sun to warm your home. If your home doesn't have eaves to protect north-facing windows, trees or vertically growing vines will also help prevent heat from the sun heating the northside of your home.

Other Areas to Shade

Other areas to think about shading include concrete and paved areas which store heat during the day before releasing it night, a phenomenon known as Urban Heat Island effect. Shading your airconditioner if it is exposed to the sun is also a way to help reduce your cooling costs.

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Using Plants 

Fast growing annuals on a trellis such as beans or pumpkins will provide temporary shade during the summer months.

 

Potted trees, such as citrus or olives, can be positioned to provide some shade for windows or walls - RENTER FRIENDLY

 

Get creative with trellising and save money — offcuts of reo mesh or mattress inner springs will do the job - RENTER FRIENDLY

Lightweight rope mesh strung over windows will support a living green curtain that can be cut down when the weather cools  

 

Water existing garden beds and trees — hydrated plants are much better at cooling their environment - RENTER FRIENDLY

 

Avoid plastic grass! It retains heat and can be 30°C hotter than real grass. It’s also a source of microplastic pollution - RENTER FRIENDLY

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Other Ideas! 

Shade cloth or bamboo blinds to keep the sun off windows and walls while you wait for trees and vines to grow.

 

Shade concrete, windows or walls with portable garden umbrellas or pop-up gazebos - RENTER FRIENDLY

 

Hang shade cloth with bulldog clips from guttering or pergola to keep the sun off windows, walls and paving - RENTER FRIENDLY

 

For second story windows consider investing in ‘Renshade’ — installed from the inside this product allows you to see through, but reflects reduces heat gain by up to 97% and is removable - RENTER FRIENDLY

 

For a budget option, use bubble wrap. Cut it to size, lightly spray the inside of the window and press the bubble wrap onto the glass - RENTER FRIENDLY

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