How To Use Greenlife To Reduce Your Energy Bills
Like it or not, we are all spending a lot more time at home due to social distancing and #stayathome requirements. While some of us are loving it, others (including myself) are constantly seeking something to occupy themselves. In our household, we have come up with a few home improvement projects to chip away at in our spare time.
The first project we’ve tackled is something that we wanted to find a solution for since moving into our home three years ago. It’s the west side of our house that is ravished during summer by the unforgiving extreme of the hot afternoon Australian sun.
Energy Australia reports unprotected glass is often the most significant source of heat gain in a house, particularly for those who live in the hotter parts of Australia; your home can gain up to 87 per cent of its heat through your windows.
We were ready to combat the weather. We have double glazed windows throughout, and we also spent a small fortune on internal sunscreens and block-out blinds on all windows on this side. We moved in during August, and everything was fine until summer arrived.
The double glazing and block out blinds, although helping, are no match for the heat that penetrates through these windows.
We talked about outdoor pull-down blinds but, in my opinion, these look dated and don’t age gracefully. Another option was plants to provide shade. While this doesn’t offer an immediate result, with a little bit of time to establish, they only get better with age, and the investment is far less than that of outdoor blinds.
A tree once established, can potentially block over 70% of solar radiation from entering your home. Trees and foliage can reduce the temperature by 11–25°C than the highest temperature for un-shaded surfaces, such as a brick wall.
We went with deciduous trees to provide shade in summer, allow natural light in winter (our little dog was as helpful as our teenagers with this project). Over the next few weekends, we will underplant the trees with low growing shade-loving plants and plant some small, sun and heat-loving shrubs against the house.
An excellent evergreen alternative along a fence line is the narrow growing Dodonaea Mr Green Sheen.
If you’re after something with stunning flowers you can’t go past Diamonds in the Dark Crepe Myrtle – they are perfect in front of a window that receives sun most of the day. These are deciduous so enjoy the cooling benefits during summer along with the vibrant blooms on dramatic dark foliage and the warming winter light in the cooler months.
We look forward to sharing our progress with you down the track.