The trick is not to let the house get hot in the first place!
This is achieved through shading of the windows by the eaves so that no direct sunlight enters the house. Heavy curtains are used to further compliment reducing heat entering the house through the glazing.
There are no windows facing east or west on the ground floor (upstairs there are windows facing all way, which are curtained as they are a ‘weak point’) to avoid getting the direct low morning and afternoon sun which can’t be shaded by the eaves.
The house has a zincalume roof, and light coloured external walls. These reflect the heat of the sun away from the house. We are constantly amazed (and puzzled) at the number of houses still being built today with dark coloured roofs!
The thermal mass walls also contribute to keeping the house temperature pleasant.
During the day, we leave the windows and doors closed, so that hot air from outside doesn’t come inside.
However after a run of very hot days (3 or more consecutive), we find that the house does start to warm up. I guess nothings perfect! But fixing the problem is simple and built into the design!
After the outside air temperature has dropped in the evening, the house is flung open.
Typically around 6pm, the ‘Albany Doctor’, a cooling seabreeze arrives in Katanning from the south. All of the windows in our house are paired north – south, so that this southerly wind can cross-ventilate our house, blowing hot air out and ensuring there are no ‘dead spots’ – pockets of air that get trapped.
On still evenings, or when the ‘Doctor’ doesn’t come, our convection cooling tower comes into play, with the open upstairs windows drawing hot air out of the house. This will work regardless of breeze, as air makes its own vertical movement due to ‘hot air rises’. For more information, see the page on Cooling Tower.
As a result of these measures, the house is back to ‘needing a doona on’ cold by around 3am, resetting the internal temperature ready to face another scorching Australian summers day with ease and comfort.
We do not own an air-conditioner or other cooling device and sold our last free-standing fan after it had sat unused in a cupboard for four years. They’re just not needed.