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Thanks to the temperature and humidity in Malaysia, air-conditioning is practically a must in any home. In urban areas, the air tends to be completely still on most days, even if you open all your windows and doors. What else can you do but reach for the remote control?
The problem is, even with proper maintenance and care, air-conditioning is an enormous energy guzzler, taking up 30% of a typical household’s electricity bill.
Is it possible to design a home that stays cool naturally, thus reducing the dependency on air-conditioning? Here are some ideas.
1. Increase the overhang of your roof
Depending on which way your windows face, you can extend the overhang of your roof so that only direct morning or late-evening sun comes in. This is particularly useful for bedroom windows.
2. Add greenery
Plants and greenery provide shade while cooling the air around it. So, brighten up your home and external spaces with plants. You could even go the extra mile and add greenery to your roof and walls.
3. Use high spaces as a solar chimney
Warm air naturally rises. If you have a stairwell, find a way to ventilate it so warm air can flow out the top, and cool air can enter through vents lower to the ground.
This can be achieved by adding vents along the top of a high wall, or even a skylight vent.
4. Install a roof turbine
A roof turbine is a turning device about 20cm in diameter. As the fins catch a light breeze, it turns and creates an area of negative pressure below it.
This pressure sucks the warm air from inside the house and sends it outside, allowing cooler air to enter the home through windows and under doors.
5. Open doors and windows for maximum cross ventilation
Your house should allow as much wind to flow through it as possible. That means large windows or full-size sliding glass doors, and fewer wall partitions, curtains, or tall bookshelves. In general:
- make sure you have an open window that allows wind to enter, plus an open window on the other side that allows it to escape;
- an angled casement window can help catch wind and direct it into the home;
- open all your room and toilet doors, and use a stopper to prevent any from slamming shut;
- if you do any major renovations, break down entire walls to really open up the space.
6. Use water features
This option may not be one for every home but, by adding pools of water around the perimeter of a property or even indoors, you will be able to cool the surrounding air.
7. Add external louvres
Use external, adjustable louvres – a window blind or shutter with adjustable slats – to provide shade while allowing the control of airflow.
This article originally appeared on Recommend.my – Malaysia’s #1 Home Improvement Services Platform, offering a safer and more convenient way to hire the best home improvement and home maintenance professionals. From flooring to interior design to air-conditioner servicing, get access to thousands of the best local contractors and professionals at your fingertips.