Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A bitsy post, desultory and pedestrian

We have been in the throes of an horrific heatwave. There are numerous fires in many states, with awful devastation. So much suffering for so many people, and so much heroism by the firefighters, the police, the rescuers, and many others.

Last night a cool change came through, so today is quite blissful, and cool air is coming into the house. This respite will be brief: more intense heat is forecast. And the fires keep burning. Some are deliberately  lit, an appallingly dreadful and anti-social act.

My house actually did not get very hot, due to closing all windows and curtains. The house faces east/west, and internal climate control is not very easy. It is a three level house, and demonstrates very clearly that hot air rises. My bedroom, on the top level, gets dreadfully hot. However I managed not to use the air conditioners for most of the time. I am contemplating having some blockout fabric gathered onto a piece of dowelling on the doors and windows of the kitchen, so as to moderate both heat and cold. Perhaps it is time that I learned how to use my sewing machine, which sits sadly unattended and unused upstairs. Using a sewing machine is one of my lost skills. Sad but true.

One of the air conditioners went on the blink yesterday afternoon. It is quite old, so possibly it is not surprising. A serviceman will visit later today, and either fix it, or give me the bad news if a replacement is necessary.

It is surprising how little attention is given to internal climate control. So many houses and apartments are built with no thought for climate control.  They have not been sited to make maximum use of climate control.  In many areas of Canberra, for example, the desirable views were to the mountains, in the west. So houses were sited to take advantage of the views, rather than to avoid the heat, or to get the winter sun.

A very common practice now is to build houses without eaves, and thus to rely on air conditioners. Apparently the eaves are counted as part of the building, and thus without eaves you can build closer to the boundary of the land. I would change this regulation forthwith. Relying on air conditioners adds heaps to the usage and costs of power.

Canberra suffered hugely from bush fires in 2003, with about 500 houses being destroyed, but thankfully, only four people lost their lives. There has been extensive rebuilding, with large houses, very often without eaves. This should never have been permitted. What do town planners think they are doing?

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

No post which includes the words desultory and pedestrian can be considered bitsy.
I am appalled at the McMansions which were built as replacement for houses which were destroyed in Canberra's 2003 firestorm. Many (most) are ugly, and surely have more space than is reasonable. And I agree wholeheartedly on the subject of eves.
I have been using our evaporative cooler - and will do again as the temperatures climb, despite being in a dimly lit, closed up home. However, my body is happiest at 14 or 15 C, so this weather has been a trial.
I do hope that the hard working emergency services can get more of these fires under control in today's cooler, less windy weather. And I cannot say what I wish would happen to arsonists.