Hutt at Heart
Sunlight through a window on a small potted plant

Eco Design Tips: Does your house overheat?

We’re heading into a beautiful Lower Hutt summer, here are some eco design tips to keep your house cool and fresh.

When building a new house there are a few things that you can do to reduce the chance of overheating.

  • Eaves and overhangs in the right size and place allow the sun to shine through the windows more in winter and less in summer.
  • Include insulation in your walls and ceilings.
  • Having some high level clerestory windows will draw the hot air out by the stack effect.

For existing homes we can reduce the heat coming through the ceiling with insulation. With walls it is a bit harder to retrofit with insulation, but worth it if you can.

Reducing sunlight through the windows with curtains and blinds is the first solution. Pergolas with vines and deciduous trees can help, especially with west-facing windows. In Auckland, it’s common to have ‘eyebrows’ (sunshades) retrofitted above north-facing windows. There are also retrofit awnings available.

Good ventilation is crucial, especially if you are able to have air from the cooler side of the house blowing in. Fans usually recirculate warm air in the house, relying on the cooling effect of the air movement. The best use is to blow warm out of the house and/or blow cool air in. See fellow Eco Design Advisor Nelson Lebo’s video for some nifty fan tricks.

If you take note of these tips, any air conditioning that you apply will be more effective and cheaper.

Hutt City Council offers a free home assessment service by our in-house Eco Design Advisor.

For a full house assessment and advice,

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Subscribe to Hutt at Heart – Te Manawa, your monthly email newsletter where you can find out about fantastic things going on across our city and at Hutt City Council.