CoolComfort Tips
Practical ideas so you can reduce energy use in heating and cooling

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Welcome to this edition of 'CoolComfort Tips'.

A short newsletter giving practical advice on minimising your energy for heating and cooling focusing on low cost easily implemented ideas.

Sponsored by COOLMAX, the lowest energy use way to cool a 45m2 room.

For full details visit


How can you save twice with compact fluorescent globes?

Instead of buying incandescent globes, buy the new compact fluorescent globes. Most sizes are now available for under $10. If you simply buy them instead of traditional globes each time you need to replace a globe (or better yet make sure you have at least one of each size in the cupboard), you will soon find you have changed your whole house over to the energy efficient globes. One additional suggestion is that you may find you have to go one size up on the manufacturers recommendation. In other words you may need to replace a 75W incandescent globe with a 20W compact fluorescent which is claimed to be equivalent to a 100W globe. The saving might not be quite as much, but will still be substantial. Because they last much longer, once you have changed your whole house over, the amount you spend on globes will be similar or less, so the energy saving will be free! Finally, the connection to air conditioning is that on a hot evening, you won't be adding as much heat to the rooms, so your air conditioner won't have to work as hard, saving you twice!

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The power crisis - Surge in air conditioning demand drives up electricity prices

In many areas of Australia electricity prices are expected to rise in the short term. In all areas of Australia electricity prices are likely to rise in the medium and long terms. The main reason is not deregulation, but is to do with the growth in energy use, in particular air conditioner use. This growth is requiring the continuous building of 'peaking' power stations which tend to be used for as little as 4% of the year. This dramatically pushes up the average cost of electricity.

A number of new small power stations have come on line, but the peak electricity demand will again set a new record this summer. This is in spite of the efforts of the Australian Greenhouse Office and other agencies.

Most of the talk has been about increasing the supply. A better option is to reduce the growth in electricity use by air conditioners. On a hot day, at least 46% of South Australia's electricity use goes to air conditioners and refrigerators. In other states, the amount is less, but still substantial. If there were no air conditioners there would be no talk of price increases and the risk of blackouts would be minimal. From 1990 to 2000 there has been a 50% growth in air conditioner energy use. Most of this increase in demand has been due to refrigerated air conditioners. For much of Australia, there are less power hungry solutions than refrigerated air conditioning. A paper published by the author shows that evaporative coolers typically use 80% less energy than refrigerated coolers. It is possible to cool a typical family/dining room effectively with an average power use as little as two thirds of a light bulb. An equivalent refrigerated air conditioner would use at least five times as much. People need not feel guilty about using one of these evaporative coolers, when they are being asked to turn off unnecessary appliances. Many organisations are working on strategies to switch power off during peak demand periods. A far better method of reducing demand is to install equipment that inherently uses dramatically less energy. This will also save the householder money.

For those people who live in areas too humid for evaporative coolers, there are still actions they can take to reduce energy use. The first target should be to reduce the need by reducing the heat load. This reduces both the number of hours of operation and how hard the air conditioner has to work. Over the next few months many practical ideas will be presented to you. The other thing to do is to buy an efficient air conditioner. Check the star rating before you buy.

For more information on the Coolmax visit or contact Clive Blanchard at COOLMAX PTY LTD, 78 West St TORRENSVILLE SA 5031 or phone 1300 729 573 (or in Adelaide 8354 1062).

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How to plant trees and shrubs to keep your house and garden cooler in summer and warmer in winter

When planting trees and shrubs, consider the effect their shade will have on the house and garden. Doing so will increase your winter warmth and keep you cooler in summer with less energy. In addition, this will make your garden a more pleasant place to be, in both summer and winter.

The factors to consider for the house are:

Similar considerations apply to your garden as a whole, and in particular to any courtyard or patio area you may have. So plant deciduous tree to the east and west, low shrubs to the north and plant tall evergreens to the South.

If you would rather plant natives than deciduous trees, keep trees to the south-west, south and south-east and plant shrubs to the north-west, north and north-east.This is because in winter the sun stays to the north of east and west whereas in summer it travels further south and trees to the south-east and south-west will provide some shade in the morning and evening.

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If buying a refrigerative air conditioner don't forget to check the size required

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Clive Blanchard, Consulting Mechanical Engineer

Web page:

Phone (08) 8354 1062