The more we observe what is happening around us the more we realise what we can do to improve our energy efficiency and comfort. The first steps included using plants on walls and then awnings and finally shade sails. We decided that the driveway now needs to be shaded to reduce the heat that is released and prevent the cars getting so hot!
This shade sail needed two posts and then was attached to the roof and fascia. It is over 5 metres square and although it will not give complete shade it certainly covers a large portion of it. The advantages include that is a cost effective way to create shade and that when you want the sun to get through in winter you can pull it down. It is already making a huge difference and once it gets really hot we will be even more appreciative. Each of the steps we have taken have helped and I am sure that we will keep observing and interacting with our environment to do a better job.
We live in a hot dry climate so these tips are very useful and we are now doing most of them:-
- Shade all external openings in regions where no winter heating is required.
- Provide passive solar shading to north-facing openings in regions where winter heating is required.
- Avoid shading any portion of the glass in winter when winter heating is required — use upward raked eaves to allow full winter solar access, or increase the distance between the window head and the underside of the eaves.
- Use adjustable shade screens or deep overhangs (or a combination of both) to the east and west.
- Deep covered balconies or verandas shade and cool incoming air and provide pleasant outdoor living spaces.
- Place a shaded courtyard next to the main living areas to act as a cool air well. Tall, narrow, generously planted courtyards are most effective when positioned so that they are shaded by the house.
- Use plantings instead of paving to reduce ground temperature and the amount of reflected heat.