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Byron Shire
September 28, 2023

Retrofit now for looming heat waves

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Suggested retrofitting ideas include sealing around doors, windows and walls; improving or adding ceiling, wall and underfloor insulation. Photo Wikimedia

With the warmest week being recorded globally, RMIT’s Dr Trivess Moore is encouraging home owners to prepare.

Dr Moore said in a press release on Monday, ‘Data from the past few weeks has highlighted we are at a critical and vulnerable point in time.

‘When it is cold, people don’t think of preparing their homes for summer. But now is the time to act – before we feel the effects of El Niño, which increases the risks of drought, heatwaves and bushfires.

‘The longer we delay delivering the type of housing required for a changing climatic future, the more costly it will be to retrofit poor quality and under-performing housing in the future’. 

Suggested retrofitting ideas include ‘sealing up gaps and cracks around doors, windows and walls; improving or adding ceiling, wall and underfloor insulation’. 

Safety issues

Dr Moore adds, ‘For those with a few practical skills, you can DIY – but there are some safety issues to watch out for’. 

Investing in good quality blinds or curtains is also advised, for thermal comfort. 

‘Make sure you put them down early on hot days to keep the heat out’.

Outdoor shading can also cool your home inside, if it’s near a window, while replacing inefficient appliances like fridges, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and heating and cooling systems with modern smart energy and water efficient appliances is encouraged. Maintaining appliances is also advised: ‘A simple clean of your heater filters will significantly improve performance and reduce costs; adding solar panels and if you have solar panels, timing your big energy uses to when the sun is out and you are generating the most energy; adding secondary glazing or window films, or undertaking full double-glazed window replacement’. Replacing gas and moving to an all-electric house was also recommended.

Dr Moore says, ‘Before jumping into a retrofit, you should seek an independent evaluation of the performance of your house which can tell you what the best bang-for-buck activities are.

‘The scorecard evaluation for houses in Australia is a really great starting point, as is information found on yourhome.gov.au.’

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