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Stay cool with revised house construction codes

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For many Australian households, summer’s debilitating heatwaves will be felt well into autumn as the steep costs of airconditioning show up on household power bills. We shouldn’t have to live like this.

Much of the punitive cost of cooling is not down to power prices but to cheap and thoughtless construction and design. What’s most exasperating is we already have the materials, knowledge and skills we need to better protect ourselves from climatic extremes, without boosting electricity demand and costs.

Airconditioning units.Credit:Shutterstock

Take, for example, ‘Josh’s House’ in Perth, a zero-carbon home of ABC TV’s Gardening Australia fame. In late January the outdoor temperature was hovering around 40 degrees, inside it was a comfortable 24 degrees. This 10-star energy efficient ‘living laboratory’ was not using airconditioning, so no additional energy was needed. Its excellent thermal performance was simply down to good passive solar design.

By contrast, on hot days in Sydney’s west, electricity demand for cooling doubles and the health, comfort and wellbeing of residents is at risk. Our recent research across this large........

© The Sydney Morning Herald