Incorporating passive design tips into your renovation or build can help keep your home naturally cooler. Reduce your reliance on artificial cooling with these greener ways to keep your home cool:
Pay attention to where the sun hits your home over summer. The midday sun can easily be blocked with eaves. The afternoon sun hits from the west at a lower angle, so can stream in windows during the hottest part of the day. Avoid large windows or use glass with very good insulation on the western face of your home.
Wall and roof insulation is a crucial element in controlling your home environment. Good insulation will keep hot air out in summer and cool air out in winter. Window glass technology has come a long way, so while you are renovating or building, take the opportunity to install windows and doors with high performing, energy efficient glass.
Ensure your home is set up for cross ventilation. The best way to encourage airflow is to have windows or door openings of about the same size, opposite each other. This means that the air will be sucked in on one side of the home and flow out the other. Plan your window sizes, types and placement so that air has a path to move through. Some windows and doors allow greater airflow than others, so find out which windows offer the best airflow.
Hot air rises, so when it goes up and has nowhere to go, the result can be that the upstairs of your home is too hot! Installing openable windows near ceiling height will give this hot air somewhere to escape to, and allow cooler air to rise from the bottom of the house to take its place.