Understanding & Harnessing Passive Cooling

[04/02/2022]

Australia is a hot country. There's no two ways about it.

At some point during the year - no matter if you’re in the humid north, the dry west or even the comparatively temperate south - you’ll need some level of cooling in your home to stay comfortable. 

As our climate gets warmer year after year, it is becoming more vital to incorporate architectural designs and materials that cool buildings - and us inside them. This forms the basis of the passive cooling concept. Essentially, your home is cool by design.

How do you passively cool a home? 
With passive cooling, you want to create a building that will: 
1. Minimise daytime heat gain. 
2. Maximise night-time heat loss. 
3. Encourage cool breeze where available. 

This can be achieved through a vast range of design methods and materials, some of which we have listed below. 




Facilitating Air Movement

Selection of window and door design, size and position is crucial for the airflow needed to cool a home. Position the windows to make the most of common cooling breezes while deflecting those that typically come from warmer directions.

Casement windows and louvre windows areperfectto ventilate any hot air out of the building.



 


Orientation

The best orientation of your home will depend on the climate zone where you live. For example, if you live in a Zone 1 climate (tropical, no heating requirements) you should position your home to exclude the sun all year round.

All other climate zones will need some solar access to heat the home during the colder months.

You'll also need to ensure that your home layout works in the context of this orientation.Consider the position of the sun and the time of day that you'll be using bedrooms, living spaces etc.



 

Insulation

Insulation is obviously critical for passively cooling your home. Choose appropriate insulation productions and ensure proper installation to minimise heat gain through walls, floors and the roof.



 

Earth Coupling

Earth Coupling refers to a process in which insulation at the edge of the slab keeps the slab temperature at a more constant and controlled level.

This creates something of a climate in the home year-round, with stable temperatures that need less air conditioning.




 

Glazing 

Up to 87% of your home's heat can be gained through the windows, so high thermal performance glazing is going to help. Use windows with a lower U-value, like Low-E glass (good) or double-glazing (better) to keep heat conductivity through the glass to a minimum.

Awning and eaves will help keep direct sunlight off your windows, reducing heat gain. If you can’t shade your windows with awnings or eaves, use glass with a low solar heat gain coefficient - ideally no more than 0.20 (less than 20% solar radiation penetration).



 

More Information on Passive Cooling

There are many facets of home deign and material selection that contribute to passive cooling, and you can read about them on the Australian government's YourHome guide to sustainable homes. 

If you'd like more information on windows, doors and glazing that can help passively cool your home p
lease get in touch with our team of experts.

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