Liveability Guides

Far north Australia has a tropical climate that consists of three main seasons. Each of the dry, wet and build-up seasons are unique with opportunities to reduce running costs and live comfortably.

Liveability ‘Living in the Tropics’ Checklist

Centre for Liveability Real Estate

Wet/Dry/Build-up Season Checklist

The Liveability ‘Living in the Tropics’ Seasonal Checklist is brought to you by our knowledge partner COOLmob.

The Wet Season:

The Top End region of Australia starts the year with monsoonal rain that brings the landscape to life. This is the period between January and April which is known by locals as “the wet” season.

January–April

iStock_000001497413_Large1. Create your own cool zone – by the pool, on your porch or the coolest shadiest room inside.

Seeking a nice shady spot is such a simple and intuitive solution to keeping cool, but many of us don’t realise what huge benefits it can bring. With effective shading around your home, you are able to limit the sun’s heat entering your home. Shading overhangs, louvres and shade cloth all help to create a comfortable temperature.

Shading and sun control is one of the 17 Things™.

2. Clean your ceiling fans.

The wet season dust can turn ceiling fans into rust so be aware and clean your ceiling fans safely. For ceiling fans to work best, they should be place directly above the places where you spend most time.

Efficient heating and cooling devices is one of the 17 Things™.

3. Dry clothes under the fan.

Avoiding use of your clothes dryer also reduces the build-up of heat and moisture in your home. Drying clothes under a fan limits the use of your clothes dryer, helping you save on energy costs.

4. For your garden

  • Discourage scrub turkeys (bush chooks) uprooting your garden. Lay spiky fruit branches flat around the base of plants like a spiky net. It’s cost effective and a natural way to deter.
  • When the monsoons commence, start planting fruit trees, other trees, wet season crops and perennial veggies. It’s beneficial to plant now because it’s raining and the trees will grow!

5. Spend time outdoors – connect with nature and marvel at its beauty.

Spending time in the fresh outdoors can do wonders. Why not start a garden or a DIY project outside?

Take a moment to connect with local community. Many areas now offer a vibrant community experience through farmers markets, community gardens, well-connected bike pathways and more. It’s all part of the experience of creating your best home; healthy, efficient, comfortable and connected to community.


Dry season:

Between May and September clear blue skies, low humidity and rainfall are recognised by locals as “the dry” season.

May–August

IMG_0159(web)

Add mulch to stop your garden from drying out.

1. For your garden

Start a veggie patch and make sure to mulch it! Adding mulch to your garden will help with water conservation. It stops the top of the soil from drying out, maintains moisture and can reduce watering by about 60%. It also assists with weed prevention and weed seed germination. A vegie patch is a great way to grow fresh and local produce in your garden and can even work in small spaces. Check out the Liveability Vegetable and Fruit Planting Calendar for what’s good to grow for the dry season in your top end location.

Water your garden during the night or early morning to reduce evaporation. Save on water costs and plan when to water your garden!

Water trees with grey water. Grey water is relatively clean domestic waste water (from baths, showers and washing machines) that can be reused on the garden in most locations. While bucketing shower water can be a chore, small pumps are available that let you pump it straight to the garden via the bathroom window. Some grey water systems are also suitable for renters as they don’t require permanent installation if the pipes are accessible from outside the house. Ensure grey water is not stored for any longer than 24 hours, and check your local council’s laws regarding the use of grey water. Be mindful of your physical ability to carry water containers.

2. Enjoy the cooler, sunny days by getting outside for a bike ride, a bush walk or a camping adventure.

Local councils often have bike paths, bushwalking maps and camping maps available for you to download or pick up at a local centre. Be sure to keep sun safe and road safe.

There are tips from changing inner tubes to how to clean your bike, check out the Liveability bike guides.

3. Use a pool cover to prevent evaporation.

A well-fitted pool cover can save up to 97% of water evaporation. It is an inexpensive way to cut your pool pump power bill and save on topping up your water, chemicals and cleaning.

Don’t forget to also adjust the length of the pool pump running time depending on usage to save on running costs. When you have the cover on, you can turn off your pump until you want to use the pool again. Pool pumps can account for a quarter of your power bill so reducing running time can lead to considerable savings.

4. Clean windows with vinegar not nasty chemicals

Vinegar is a versatile and inexpensive product that can replace household cleaning products for common cleaning tasks, like cleaning windows. Vinegar is antibacterial, which means that you can create a healthy home.

See this washing windows recipe for an easy vinegar mix that’s perfect for washing windows.


The Build-Up:

September to December are the transitional months which are often referred to as the “build-up”. This is the pre-monsoonal season; rain is on its way and the humidity is rising making it feel very hot and heavy.

September–December

1. Find the breeze and open your home to catch it.

Cross-ventilation requires windows with large opening areas on opposite sides of the building without obstructions, such as walls. If your home has been built to allow cross-ventilation, a breeze will cool the home naturally without relying on mechanical air-conditioning, and also discourage mould.

Cross-ventilation is one of the 17 Things™.

Clean your flyscreens to promote ventilation

Clean your flyscreens to promote ventilation

2. Clean your flyscreens; flyscreens reduce the amount of breeze that reaches inside your home so promote ventilation into your home by maintaining clean flyscreens.

Renters generally don’t require permission to clean flyscreens, but this will depend on the type of screen you have. If it is difficult to clean or remove, it will be your responsibility to fix.

A quick and easy way to clean your screens is to close all your windows and then use a garden hose to quickly spray the screens. A more water conscious approach is to close your windows and use a soft broom to gently sweep the screens.

3. Use the ceiling fan with your air-conditioner set at 27°C.

A fan will help circulate the cool air from the air-conditioner around the room to create a comfortable temperature. Ceiling fans are an incredibly efficient cooling device as air movement of even 0.5 metre per second can create a one-off cooling effect of around 3°C!

Remember, ceiling fans work best when placed directly above people.

Efficient heating and cooling devices is one of the 17 Things™.

4. Only cool rooms that you are using.

Zoning rooms and floors is an easy way to lower your power bills. By zoning sections of your home, you are able to control which rooms to cool when required, instead of having to cool the whole house.

Zoning is one of the 17 Things™.

IMG_0083(web)

You can compost food scraps to reduce the amount of organic matter going to landfill.

5. For your garden

Compost and fertilise before the rains. This helps prepare the soil beds before planting.

6. Cook outside to reduce heat in the kitchen.

Cooking outdoors is a good way to avoid heating the house up. For an extra fun activity, you can use solar ovens, which use less energy than regular cooktops.

 

Centre for Liveability Real Estate

Centre for Liveability Real Estate

In addition to their expertise in residential real estate, The Centre for Liveability Real Estate also works collaboratively with the sustainable design, construction, manufacturing and assessment and industries in the development of information on this site.

Leave a Reply