Many of us grew up in a household where our parents knew the value of a dollar. They knew how to run a much more efficient family budget than we do today. They didn’t tolerate waste. One piece of helpful advice that was constantly offered up to absent-minded children (when they forgot to close a door) was ‘Shut the door’. They constantly lamented that ‘you weren’t born in a tent’. Our frugal parents would have been mortified to know what we know today; that the air leakage in their homes (and our homes today) was the equivalent of leaving an outside door partially open, 24 hours a day, all year long.
Through the coldest of Australian winters and the hottest Australian summers, we spend a small fortune heating and cooling our homes. We invest in insulation, specially coated glass and double glazed windows, all with the aim of improving the comfort levels and efficiency of our homes. All of this is in vain if our homes are leaking air at a rate that is increasing our heating and cooling bills by as much as 30%. Even in the newest 6 Star energy efficient Australian homes, air leakage is costing a small fortune and reducing air quality to a level that may be impacting on the health of our families.
Our parents knew something of draft proofing their homes against air leakage. Usually their solution was a sawdust-filled fabric ‘sausage’ (often of their own making), which helped reduce the draft under the odd door. Unfortunately, this was the equivalent of putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg, not nearly enough to make a real difference. Our parents did the best they could with the information they had. Today, we have no excuses; we have all of the research and technology to draft proof our homes to a level that would have made our parents proud.
Families throughout Europe and the US have had the benefit of this knowledge for decades, with homes that stay warmer in the coldest of climates and cooler in blistering temperatures. These internationally mandated air leakage assessments and draft proofing of homes deliver real benefits to homeowners and occupants.
Australians pride themselves on being first at many things; unfortunately we are well behind the rest of the world when it comes to draft proofing homes. The good news is there is a change in the wind and smart Australian homeowners are already undergoing air leakage assessments and draft proofing their homes. Those who have already undergone this process will be the first to tell you that they ‘wished they had known about this years ago’. Will you join them and the chorus of a generation of parents who told you to ‘Shut the door, you weren’t born in a tent’.