I enjoy the idea of summer as much as the next girl – Catchy summer songs, more skin showing on the street, delicious ice cream, the beach and the sunshine… All of these sounds more than delightful. However, there’s absolutely no songs ever written about staying at home in summer, which is an inevitable part of life. It sure feels nice to just relax, watch some TV while cranking up the air-conditioner, that kind of stuff that’s made for a lazy Sunday afternoon. And when it comes to places that are summer all year long like Singapore, it’s hard not to seek help from our loyal friend, air conditioner, to keep the house nice and cool, both when you’re sitting in the living room enjoying a glass of iced tea with air conditioner running in the background and the chill in your heart when you see the numbers on your utility bills.
Turn off that AC!
And that’s when you say something has got to change. There are a lot of eco-friendly air conditioners in the market at the moment, but you know what’s more eco-friendly than eco-friendly air conditioner? No air conditioning at all.
This might sound a little crazy, even dreadful to some, but with the help of a few tricks here and there, you might just make it! Read on to see the tricks that can help keep you cool around the house without AC!
You might not notice, but a small amount of heat is generated when your electronics and other small appliances are plugged, even when they’re not in use. Go around the house and unplug away to save some energy and reduce the heat in the house.
Is your ceiling fan doing its part?
In summer, your ceiling fan should be set to run counter clockwise to circulate cool air.
Incandescent lights, out!
If you haven’t already, replace your incandescent lights with CFL or LED light bulbs to reduce both energy used and heat. While you’re at it, look at a few more options for everything else in the house to find a lower energy consumption option, the less energy is required, the less heat it is giving off.
Open up your windows and let the breeze in, this also help the air circulation. If you really don’t want to or can’t open your windows, consider using window films with sun control on your windows, these films are known for reducing the heat when the sun shines through your big glass window as well as UV protection.
What is the color of your windows shades or screens? Not black or anything dark, I hope. Lighting colors, namely white, rejects warmth and sunlight instead of absorbing it like black does. If you feel like there is already a lot of white in your interior design and want to mix things up a little, woven and bamboo shades are also excellent at keeping the heat out.
Pay attention to your body temperature
What you are really trying to avoid is “feeling” hot, a cold shower or some ice cold beverage can do the trick. Additionally, you can also soak a small towel in ice cold water, apply it on your body after rinsing off the excessive water.
The long term game plan
Of course, you can’t be showering once every 2 hours, not only is it a waste of water, your skin will also dry up pretty quickly when that happens. If you’re living in a place like Singapore, it makes sense to commit to a long term plan and do a little more to keep the house cool without air conditioning, for example, the previously mentioned window films that keep the heat and sun damage out is a good tool, if there’s space, you could also consider adding a little green to your interior design, plants and vines can serve as extra sunblock for the house and help with the breeze. Incorporate heat reducing features in your interior design, this should already be carefully planned for a place like Singapore. If your apartment is really outdated or getting a renovation, make sure you talk to your interior designer about heat reducing features, something interior designs in Singapore should especially be focused on.
Even though humans have tried to explore beyond earth to find a new living planet suitable for us, but as far we know, the planet earth is still the only planet that is suitable for human living. With this in mind, going green seems to be the logical option for the sake of both our planet earth and our wallet, every Singaporean interior designer would agree to this. For example, did you know that if your air conditioning is over 12 years old, the chance is, the new models available in the markets right now are likely greener (more energy efficient) and, therefore save you some money on your electricity bill?
Let’s take a look at other energy efficiency solutions that helps you save the green earth and your wallets:
Switch to Solar
It is true that Singapore may has limited space, but Singapore also has a lot of sun. Like the rest of south-east Asia, the development of solar power has been making good progresses. Consider solar roof as your energy source at home, while it is quite an investment, but the wonderful thing about solar roof is that the majority of the fees are one-off. You can just sit back and relax once everything is in place.
If it’s the initial costs that are preventing you from going green via solar roof, you don’t have to let it. Some new business models have been developing in Singapore and with the help of these service, you might just be able to go green with lower initial costs.
Image Source: zmescience.com
For example, PacificLight Energy plans to provide solar power to your home by installing solar roof, which they own on your roof. If the solar generated energy is not enough, the company will provide gas generated power on top of it.
Or you can consider the SolarSpace programme from Sun Electric, which connects owners with solar roof space with customers that wish to use solar generated power.
Do not let this solar talk scare you away though, if all those just seem too far away from reality, you can always start small by looking at your light bulbs. Yes, light bulbs. Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional light bulbs. Saving you money and the green earth at the very same time!
Time your shower
Limit your shower to six minutes could save you a great deal of money from reduced water cost and the cost of heating it, while you’re at it, purchase a water-efficient shower-head to up your game.
Image Source: usnews.com
Consumer electronics account for about 13% of home energy use, this might not seem much, but nothing is too small to reduce! Did you know that even when they’re not in used, appliances still drains a lot of energy when they’re plugged in? Unplug your devices when it’s fully charged or when not in use, this will save you a noticeable amount of money on your electricity bill. You could also use some help from green adapters that automatically cut off the power supply once your devices have enough power.
Go green, literally.
Provided that you have enough space and permission, consider getting plants around the house, with a little care, those plants can do wonderful thing to the air quality around the house and reduce heat to a certain degree. With enough greens and breezes around the house, you might just get to turn off your air conditioning from time to time.
Image Source: homeexteriorinterior.com
Check your home insulation system.
Cool air will flow out of poorly insulated walls and keep you hot inside, consult a professional or conduct a thorough research yourself to make sure you have a proper and effective insulation system. However, the walls aren’t the only thing that can help with your electricity bill, upgrade your windows to energy efficient windows, such as storm windows, can also help you save by keeping the cool air in.
Last but not least, don’t forget to switch it off!
One simple trick to save energy and makes your home more energy efficient is to switch off the powers when the devices are not in use. Do you need your laptop to stay on when you’re watching TV? Do you need all the lights in the house to be on even when you’re alone and reading this in your bed? The habit of switching off can save you a dramatic amount of money, and it is never too late to start today! You can ask an advice from your talented Singapore interior designer to help you accomplish an eco-friendly home solutions.
Nowadays, going green is a trend and it’s what most interior designing companies in Singapore take into consideration while creating outlines of their work. Plus, most homeowners go for environmentally-friendly solutions, thanks to recent research and new-found ideas.
Eco-friendly flooring is part of this and rightfully so: most are relatively cheaper, are perceived to have health benefits, and are as durable as other materials. Plus, there wouldn’t be any need to cut down trees if you pick them.
Let’s take a look at some of the best and most popular examples out there:
Contrary to popular belief, bamboo is not actually a type of wood – it’s a type of grass.
Easily the most renewable materials ever, bamboo floors can be as durable as red oak especially when it is made from natural and un-carbonized bamboo. Strand woven bamboo is also among the certain types of bamboo that can be extremely hard, strong, and durable than some types of wood. It has always been a popular flooring choice for people living in rural areas in the eastern parts of Asia. Now, it has invaded urban areas and big cities.
It’s light, easy to maintain, and most of all, easy to plant. Most species can grow up to three centimeters in a single hour. It takes far less time to mature compared to a tree as well.
Bamboo floors are available in varied hues and colors, giving you various options. They are highly resistant to termites, mold, and water damage.
Aside from these advantages bamboo flooring has, it is also considered among the trendy flooring materials that can elevate the grandeur of a space. Bamboo flooring has an appearance that is similar to hardwood floors and yet, is still distinct and unique. This can add an ineffable class to a room.
Non-chemically treated carpets
Using chemically-treated materials is highly discouraged. Chemically treated carpets are able to expel toxic fumes – and although this will only have a minimal effect on your overall health, it’s still uncomfortable walking on something that is trying to kill you.
Jokes aside, there are organic carpet options like those made of cotton and wool. Both materials are pretty durable and feel good on the feet if well-taken care of. This type flooring option is best for homes with kids or family members susceptible to negative effects of chemicals.
Porcelain tiles are a great flooring option: they’re pretty durable, easy to clean, are relatively cheaper, and easy to manufacture compared to other materials.
This material has been around since ancient times and has always been used in pottery and plates. It can also be easily decorated and customized – different patterns can be drawn into them, giving you an astounding number of options.
These tiles are better options compared to ceramic varieties and are stronger, pound for pound. That being said, they are also suited for high traffic parts of the house, like the living room, bathroom, and kitchen.
To easily know the difference between ceramic and porcelain/homogeneous, break one of each and check out the insides. The latter contains the same material all the way through, while the former is made up of different materials – only ceramic coating is on the top layer.
Yes, we know: concrete is ugly. However, it’s green, even though it’s gray.
That being said, it’s usually covered with carpets or tiles in homes – you never see it bare and exposed. However, given its durability, it never needs to be replaced in your lifetime. Concrete can be polished and tinted to suit your aesthetic needs as well.
You can have epoxy or concrete sealants applied to it, but both materials are horrendously toxic and are skin and eye irritants – you’ll need pros to apply them for you.
This type of flooring is relatively new compared to others. Despite that, it has taken the world by surprise: there are numerous companies and homeowners investing in the material.
Though they may look like pieces of wood and stone, they’re composed of high density fiberboard which are strongly pressed together with high pressure. The “wooden” look is a photograph of a hardwood – it can simulate the feel of the wood without needing one! This alone makes it a green option and a perfect substitute if you want your home to have hardwood-looking floors.