As is so often the case with architecture, it takes a variety of coordinated choices and solutions to ensure a building aligns with its occupiers’ needs and interests. Cooling is no different. But how can you help keep your home cool and warm without costing the earth (or lots of dollars to boot)? When paired with quality HVAC technology, passive cooling is a method that can help keep you cool – and without overheating your back pocket.
In this article, we take a look at passive cooling as a method of keeping your home comfortable in summer. In doing so, we also help you explore the many ways in which passive cooling can be married with G Store’s award-winning HVAC technology to ensure you’ll never again return home to a house like an oven! But first, let’s take a look at what passive cooling is – and how it works.
How does passive cooling work?
Passive cooling is a term that describes the way in which particular design choices, often architectural, can be used to reduce heat gain and increase its loss. Passive cooling principles (or PCPs) are the principles that inform these design choices and are often linked to considerations like the movement of air, garden landscaping, ventilation options, placement and availability of shade, building design, building location, and more.
The ultimate goal of the passive cooling approach? To improve indoor thermal comfort via methods that require either little or no energy consumption. Overall, passive cooling is an incredible supplementary method of cooling most homes that allows you to:
- Cool your home in a way that’s sustainable
- Save money on costly energy bills
- Reduce or eliminate the need for air conditioning (depending on your building design and surrounding climate)
Let’s now look at some of these benefits in more detail.
What are the benefits of passive cooling?
- Minimising, avoiding and isolating internal heat
Most of us have been there: the dread of coming home to a super-hot home and knowing that your summer nights will be spent without sleep – or, at the least, very little of it. It’s important to recognise that the generation of heat is, essentially, a byproduct of the use of technology, as well as of the manufacturing process. Therefore, it becomes very difficult to conceptualise the existence of a contemporary house without it.
Devices? Heat generation.
Cooking? Heat generation?
The list goes on. Short of shutting down the production process or eliminating production from your home all together, it’s unlikely that heat can be eliminated entirely from your home. However, exploring and adhering to PCPs can help you to reduce it – whilst being kinder to the environment at the same time.
Consider that some sources of internal heat are not always super obvious (like those mentioned above such as heat emitted by technological devices and methods of cooking food). And still, they add up. Here are some of the major ways you can consider reducing the significance of internal sources of heat in your home:
- Unplug electronic devices
- Cook hot food outside or reduce use of the over in summer
- Consider installing UV-reflective window film
- Have cooler showers
- Use fans to push hot air outside
- Carefully consider your sources of lighting
- Understand the role played by vegetation and landscape gardening in shading your home
Start with these options and you’ll slowly begin incorporating the benefits of passive cooling into your home this summer.
- Improved ventilation
Naturally, when you begin to consider the movement of hot air (or even just air, for that matter) within your home, you’ll begin to see improved ventilation. Ventilation is the intentional introduction of outdoor air into an internal space, an approach used to adapt the quality of indoor air. Good ventilation doesn’t just help with the minimisation of internal heat. It also helps to:
- Reduce indoor pollutants
- Prohibit the growth of mould
- Keep spaces smelling fresh and clean
- Improve overall health and wellbeing, including breathing
- Help prevent respiratory irritants
- Help keep airborne viruses at bay
When it comes to passive cooling techniques, the movement of air is often thought of to be the most basic element of this approach. Any action that helps replace internal air with either cool or warm air (depending on the temperature of the outside air, of course) can help aid ventilation and increase the movement of air throughout your home.
Some simple actions you can take to help increase ventilation in your home include:
- Aiming for well-designed windows and doors – the spaces where air has the potential to both enter and exit your home
- If living in an apartment, look for one with a balcony
- Consider the installation of air vents
- Regularly air-out your home by opening windows and doors as possible
- Engage a ventilation consultant when building a new home
- If buying a home, explore the availability of ventilation and the guidelines laid out by your Owners’ Corporation (if applicable)
Of course, some environments – and especially those within the Australian climate – will require additional assistance to keep cool over the summer months. The great news is that with careful planning and the award-winning expertise of an experienced HVAC specialist (just like G Store), it’s possible to plan for whole-home cooling that incorporates both passive and low-energy options.
- Experiencing the benefits of integrated passive and low-energy cooling
At G Store, we have worked hard to stock only the highest quality all-electric solutions that keep you powering towards net zero with calm, confidence and ease. As part of this philosophy, we love helping our customers understand the unique qualities of their building, and how various systems of cooling your home are suited to your particular interests, needs and context.
Homes that actively integrate passive cooling approaches with options for additional low-energy cooling are more likely than ever before to survive long Australian summers. Giving you the guilt-free option of using additional cooling if and when required, a well-rounded, integrated home helps you plan not only for the comfort of your home’s current occupants, but for potential future occupants as well.
At G Store, we offer a range of impressive split-system, multi split-system, hydronic cooling and ducted air conditioning options that can blend seamlessly with your passive cooling-friendly home. Learn more about the air conditioning and cooling systems we offer here – a handy guide on keeping cool this summer, direct from our learning centre!
But we get it – how on earth are you going to make the right decision for you and your home this summer?
What’s the best option for cooling my home in summer?
Our trained experts have over 15 years of experience in helping customers cool their homes in even the most trying of conditions. Put simply, it’s our pleasure to tailor systems large and small to suit your exact needs and specifications – just ask!
If you’re ready to explore ways of integrating both passive cooling and low-energy cooling systems into your home ahead of summer’s hottest days, give our friendly team a call today on 1300 766 940, or visit our Learning Centre to read more.