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How to cool down your house, suburb, and heating costs

Sydney Microclimates Are Heating Up!

Let’s face it, folks – Sydney summers are getting hotter every year.  The 2017/2018 summer broke records in four suburbs, with more days reaching temperatures above 35 degrees than in any previous summer on record, almost double the typical number of hot days for summertime.  And this trend is expected to continue throughout the coming years.

Much of this has to do with microclimates, small areas that block wind and collect huge amounts of solar radiation.  These create heat islands, especially in the urban areas of Sydney, areas with a high percentage of hard surfaces that retain heat for longer and release it into the atmosphere.  All across Sydney, we’re seeing more houses and less trees, more roads and less green – and it adds up!

Current construction styles contribute heavily to this issue.  Paved ground surfaces, outdated building styles, the removal of trees, and tall buildings which block the breeze all play a part in creating more intense heat waves and hotter summers overall.  Sydney councils are now attempting to address this on a regional scale.  There are innovative programs now in motion – such as the Cooling the City Strategy – which aim to increase the amount of green space in Sydney and encourage the use of lighter building materials.

The good news is that everyone who owns a home can support this effort by making small but significant improvements.  Not only will these home improvements reduce your heating costs, they’ll also play a part in cooling the microclimate around your home, helping in a small way to beat the heat all over Sydney.

Here are a few methods you might want to consider:

What you can do to keep your home – and suburb – cooler

1. Rubber Membrane Roofing

Rubber Membrane Roofing is a great DIY solution for keeping your home cool during the steamy months.  This is a single-ply, white, rubber like material that can be bought in rolls and easily affixed to your existing roof.  It’s lightweight, strong, weatherproof, and absolutely amazing at keeping the heat both off of and out of your home.

2. Solar/Photovoltaic Systems

Solar systems may be expensive to install, but you’ll more than make your money back over a few years with savings on heating costs and other electric bills.  Essentially, they absorb solar radiation and transform it into electricity.  If you’d like to explore this option, look for PV (Photovoltaic) shingles.  They come in traditional sizes and give a beautiful aesthetic touch once installed.  The only downsides are the initial cost, and the fact that, unless you’re really handy when it comes to electrical things, you’ll want to opt for professional installation.

3. Green/Living Roofs

With green and sustainable housing styles on the rise, green roofs are becoming more popular.  Basically, they consist of a waterproof membrane filled with soil and vegetation.  The plants and soil will cool the roof naturally, as well as oxygenating the air around your home.  Often, living roofs will incorporate a water runoff system that further cools the roof and provides water for the growing plants.  If you’d like to get really creative, you can even use these roofs to plant a small garden.

4. Radiant Barriers and Overlays

Radiant barriers and overlays are another option for cheap, DIY-friendly methods to reduce heating costs and lower the temperature of the microclimate around your home.  There are many options which fit into this category, including foam sprays, elastomeric sealants, and ceramic-based paints, all of which will cool your roof by helping it to reflect solar radiation.  BUR, or built-up-roofing, can also be used to elevate the surface which receives the sun’s rays away from your structural roof, dramatically reducing the heat that radiates into your home.

These are just a few of the methods you may wish to explore to reduce heating costs and help to keep your home cool and comfortable all year-round.  If you’d like to look into more, here is a list of some of the best options on the market.

At Sydney Leaf Screening, we understand that your home is one of the most important investments you will make in your life.  For this investment to work for you, it’s important to make decisions that will reduce costs and increase value for all the years to come.  We are dedicated to helping you on this journey in any way possible.

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