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

Hi [[firstname]],
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.

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Insulate now before the hottest weather!

If you have been thinking of insulating your ceiling , now is the time. Did you know that he hottest weather for most of Australia is mid February? So insulating now makes sense. If you can't afford to get it done professionally, buy a bag or two from the hardware store and install it in the most critical rooms now! Add to it progressively as you can afford it.

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Energy and Climate Change, an update.

The World Energy Congress recently held a conference in Sydney. One of the most important papers 'Energy and Climate Change' reported on expected trends in energy use over the next 46 years. It states that to reduce greenhouse gas production we will need to expand the use of natural gas, renewable energy, bio-products and low energy appliances. A more controversial recommendation from the report is to also increase the use of nuclear energy. My personal view is that the risks of nuclear power (long term disposal of waste, terrorism risks, the magnitude of disaster if something should go wrong) mean that our long term goal should be to reduce dependence on nuclear power.

Current figures released at the conference show that in a 'business as usual' scenario (ie. continue increasing our energy use and greenhouse gas production at the current rate) our rate of release of carbon will grow from 8Gt (8 Gigatonne) of carbon in 2000 to 16Gt in 2050. As I believe we are already seeing the preliminary effects of climate change, I shudder to think of the consequences of doing nothing. (John Howard- you opened the conference, how about committing us to the Kyoto protocol. The USA and Australia are now the only western countries who haven't signed. The world needs us to commit to this!)

The President of the 'World Business Council for Sustainable Development' presented a paper which shows the biggest worry is the slow improvements forecast in the transport industry. Transport is forecast to continue to increase its greenhouse gas emissions for a considerable time even under the most optimistic scenarios. I also believe transport is one of the major issues, because it is dependent on petroleum (oil). I believe the scarcity of oil supplies is a root cause of many wars (including Iraq and East Timor). The risk of oil spills during transport also adds to the problem.

One area where you as an individual can help, is by making your home as greenhouse efficient as possible. You don't have to transform it overnight, but if every time you do something for the home you use energy use minimisation principles, after three or four years you would have made a substantial impact. In fact if you do it over three or four years, the changes can be more or less self funding, and you won't in fact have to sacrifice your standard of living. So keep implementing the ideas in this newsletter!

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Don't let air leaks steal your cooling

If you have a refrigerative air conditioner, air leaks in your house will allow hot outside air in and allow your 'expensive' cool air to leak out. In a house that leaks badly, rectifying this can make a significant increase in comfort and substantial reduction in running costs. Even in a house which was considered acceptable ten years ago, it is worth reviewing your situation now as costs have changed. At today's electricity prices, weather-stripping doors and windows has a very quick payback. (Possibly as little as one month.)

Start by looking at your windows. If you have timber windows, they will almost certainly need weather stripping. If you have aluminium sliding windows they should be reasonably air tight. The doors are the next biggest issue. The biggest leak for doors is generally under the door, however if the door isn't a snug fit in the frame, then weather-stripping all round is recommended. Any good hardware store will have a range of seals. Look for ones with good instructions, as installing the right ones in the right places, will maximise the benefit and the life of the weather-stripping.

Of course, if you do seal your house more effectively, you will have to make more effort to open windows when the outside conditions are pleasant to ensure you get adequate ventilation. Doing this will also mean that you won't need to run your air conditioner for as long, saving you more money.

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Clive Blanchard, Consulting Mechanical Engineer
78 West St

Web page:

Phone (08) 8354 1062