Air conditioners get a bad rap for the load they place on the energy system. It surprises many people to learn though that they’re particularly efficient at turning energy into warmth or coolth. If you’re buying a new unit or replacing an old unit these tips will help you minimise the energy consumption and maximise the life of the air conditioner.
Ceiling fans provide extremely efficient alternatives to cooling (in comparison to air conditioners). A new range of ultra efficient DC motors and innovative blade designs are pushing this a step further. Many fans can be used in reverse mode to help push warm air back down from the ceiling.
The apps listed below let you track the path of the sun on any day of the year from any location. This allows you to understand how much sun will hit your building and assess the effects of shading from neighbouring buildings or trees.
When it’s hotter inside your home than it is outside (for example summer evenings) simply pumping the cooler air into your home represents a much more energy efficient option than air conditioning.
Heating from wood fires is considered to have one of the lowest levels of greenhouse gas emissions of any heating source provided that the wood which is burned has not needed to be transported long distances. This is often not possible in cities and the particle pollution associated with wood fires can also be a problem. In rural areas however wood fired heating is a good alternative to electricity and gas (which is usually only available in bottles).
Wood fired heaters can be made more efficient when combined with a wetback or water jacket which heats water which is then stored in a tank and reticulated through radiators or in-slab heating.
Wetbacks can also be configured to provide backup heating to solar hot water systems. Fires are most often used on cold overcast or cloudy days when the solar collectors are also of least use.
Given a clean slate a solar passive approach to heating would be taken but when renovating this luxury doesn’t always exist. Solar air heaters allow you capture the suns energy from the roof or external wall of your building and direct it inside.