Keeping cool – you and the planet

TAKE2 has the low down on loads of small and large things you can do to stay cool at home without helping to warm the planet.


Keep the thermostat between 24 and 26 degrees. For every degree lower you set the air-con in summer, the running costs increase by around 10%. Your home doesn’t need to be icy cold to be comfortable. If you have air conditioning, use the economy setting if your system has one.

Keep the heat out in the first place. It’s the most effective way to cool your home in summer. When it’s a hot day, keep the windows closed to shut the heat out. Once the cool change hits or night comes, open the windows and shades to cool your home down.

Shade windows with internal or external shades or blinds. Every square metre of glass the sun shines through is like turning on a small bar radiator inside your home. External shades have a bigger impact than internal blinds and curtains. You don’t have to get expensive, tailor made and installed awnings, though they are very effective. If budget’s an issue, take a trip to the hardware shop, pick up some heavy shade cloth and DIY. If you’re renting, have a chat with the landlord or property manager first.

Internal blinds and curtains need a pale lining to reflect the heat back towards the window.

Dress for the weather. Trackies and a hoodie around the house on a 30+ degree day just won’t cut it! It’s a no brainer really.

Use fans - They don't cool air but keep it circulating which can provide some relief, at least on warm days, if not the scorchers.

Insulation is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to keep cool. But four in ten Victorian households don’t have enough insulation! Insulation in the ceiling, walls and floors acts like an esky in summer, keeping the heat out, and like a thermos in winter, keeping the heat in. If you’re renovating or building include enough insulation. It’ll save you a lot of money and hot sleepless nights.  

If you’re building or retrofitting, consider double glazed windows. They reduce heat gain by almost 30% in summer and heat loss by the same amount in winter. Triple glazed windows are even better. You can also get heritage leadlight windows double glazed.

You might like to read this too: TAKE2 and get the most from your air conditioner this summer