Fan­ning the flames on a hot topic

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Robyn.wil­

Is it hot or what?

In re­cent weeks soar­ing tem­per­a­tures have made go­ing back to the rel­a­tive com­fort of air­con­di­tioned of­fices al­most a plea­sure.

In Sydney, we’ve had the added bonus of air so thick with hu­mid­ity that at times it feels like you could swim through it while wait­ing in hope for that late southerly change to come.

At our house, it’s a mat­ter of locking the place down and draw­ing the blinds dur­ing the day and then open­ing all the doors and win­dows at night to draw the breeze through.

This is gen­er­ally suf­fi­cient for tem­per­a­tures up to about 30C or so, but as the num­bers have climbed in re­cent weeks, the house has started to feel like a sauna.

Even fans strate­gi­cally placed around the house have of­fered lit­tle re­lief, es­pe­cially when we’re try­ing to sleep.

I can al­ready imag­ine that some might be won­der­ing why we don’t have air­con­di­tion­ing. In­deed, my chil­dren have started their own cam­paign to raise their stan­dard of liv­ing with air­con.

But af­ter years of writ­ing about the ben­e­fits of cross ven­ti­la­tion and ther­mal mass, it’s al­most ad­mit­ting de­feat to say it might be time for some­thing less eco­nom­i­cal with a higher level of en­ergy con­sump­tion.

Also, the old house re­ally does leak like a sieve, with ar­ti­fi­cial in­door air tem­per­a­tures dif­fi­cult to main­tain, both in win­ter and sum­mer.

But I feel for my kids — and our pets. While I’ve spent the hottest days this sum­mer in the of­fice, the kids have swel­tered at home, tak­ing the bus to the beach or the lo­cal pool when they can. The thing is, most of the year it’s fine. It’s just that when it’s hot in Aus­tralia, it’s re­ally hot and even a few sleep­less nights are too many. At least it makes go­ing back to school look good.

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