1. Shut the blinds
Studies show up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from windows and high-quality curtains or purpose-designed window shades can make a major difference to the air temperature inside your home - lowering indoor temperatures up to 20 degrees. North and west-facing windows should have good block-out blinds to repel the heat.
2. Work with your doors and windows
Unless there’s a breeze blowing, keep your windows shut during the heat of the day. In the evening open them up to let cool air blow through your home. Opening up windows on opposite sides of your house will create cross ventilation, cooling everything in between.
3. Get to know your fans
Invest in ceiling fans if you haven’t already got them. Just make sure they are working in summer-mode – turning counter-clockwise as this pushes the hot air up, cooling you down. The opposite spin will do the reverse, sucking the cool air from a room towards the ceiling. If you need a quick fix, you can create a faux sea breeze by positioning a bowl of ice at an angle in front of a large fan, as the air whips off the ice, it creates a cool mist.
4. Plant a rooftop garden
Planting greenery on the roof acts as insulation for the home as the garden helps keep the air temperate inside. If you want a virtually maintenance-free green roof, look for plants that can sustain themselves with minimal care, like kangaroo paw, succulents, banksias and native daisies.
5. Shut the lights
Lights give a small amount of excess heat and in the middle of a sweltering day, every little bit makes a difference. Make sure to turn any lights off that you’re not using.
6. Revamp your bedding
Any excuse will do to invest in a fresh new quilt and sheet set, and summer calls for light, breathable fabrics to ensure a good night’s sleep. Look for linen or pure cotton sheets, and invest in a quality summer-weight blanket with a light cotton or silk fill. Stick to light colours for summer bedding, as they reflect rather than absorb heat.
7. Plant shade trees
Trees and plants are an effective way to block the heat from coming in through the windows. Plant strategically positioned trees and shrubs in garden beds or pots outside the windows that get the most direct sunlight during the day, creating natural shade cover for years to come. If you want more natural sunlight during the cooler months, go for trees that lose their leaves during autumn and winter, like jacaranda, ash, birch, maple and robinia.
8. Add insulation
Insulation installed in your ceiling prevents the hot air in the roof cavity from entering your home. It doesn’t just work during the day either! After your roof has been baking in the hot sun all day, the insulation prevents that heat from radiating into your home at night. If you’re installing insulation yourself, make it tight against the timber of your ceiling structure but don’t compress it as this reduces its effectiveness. Also, keep it around 20 cm from any downlights as this could be a fire risk.