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5 heat-proof condo renovations in Singapore to stay cool

With temperatures climbing to 34 degrees lately, Singaporeans are booking their next flights out to cooler climates and Uniqlo’s AIRism shirts are selling like hotcakes. Some of us have returned to the comfort of an office building’s central conditioning, but for others who have maintained remote work, their homes have never been stuffier.

Think you have it bad? Our friends in west-facing homes have it worse. Unfortunately, in our property market, facing direction is sometimes an inevitable trade-off. In this article, we share long-term renovation decisions new condo homeowners can make from the get-go to manage the heat down the line.

1. Rethink partitions that obstruct air flow

Be preemptive, not reactive. Echoing Property Wealth Decoded’s mantra, we recommend making air flow a priority when you are selecting a condominium unit or renovating it. After all, they are known to be quite small.

To facilitate ventilation, create a relatively clear path for the exchange of indoor and outdoor air. Many new homeowners build partitions at home entrances to create some semblance of privacy, but they end up obstructing the airflow between your doorway and the windows or balcony.

Consider substituting them for “porous” dividers that do not block air flow entirely. They may even add an element of design to your home.

2. Avoid wood-based flooring that retains heat

Scandinavian looks may have taken the interior design world by storm, but you may want to think twice about that parquet flooring or those fibreglass doors for the same reason most Singaporean homes do not have carpets - they retain heat.

Surfaces such as marble and porcelain, on the contrary, are better conductors of heat. With tasteful design, they can look equally sophisticated while remaining functional. Where paint jobs are concerned, you may wish to opt for thermal insulation coating which helps to reflect heat away and slow its transfer through your condominium’s walls.

3. Furnish your condo with heat insulating glass

Most of us have heard of solar window films that block out both infra-red heat and UV rays - a godsend invention that keeps interior cools while protecting our skin. Rather than seeing thermal insulation as an add-on, what about doubling down on the window panes?

Laminated glass, for starters, is an energy efficient option that helps to deflect heat while maintaining sufficient light transmission. Meanwhile, double glazed glass has a gap that contains air between its two panes. As a poor conductor of heat, this gas stops hot air from escaping quickly. The best thing? They even have sound-proofing qualities.

4. Install smart blinds to control heat remotely

We love a warm welcome after a long day of hard work, but not when it is 34 degrees warm. What if there was a way to cool your condo down even before you come home?

Of course there is. After all, we live in an age where you can unlock your gate or control your laundry rack from anywhere. Enter automated blinds and curtains - which can be lowered or drawn remotely using mobile apps.

Maybe you left the house in a hurry or wanted to let the light in for your plant babies. The moment our erratic weather has a change of mind, these automated shade solutions quite literally have you covered so you don’t come home to a furnace.

5. Reduce humidity with a bathroom exhaust

Humidity is the number one enemy for homeowners in Singapore. Not only does it make our bodies feel uncomfortable and body, the moisture also causes paint and wood to deteriorate. Even then, many remain fond of hot showers. No bathtub? No problem. Our condominium bathrooms double up as saunas post-shower

Installing a bathroom exhaust fan helps level the humidity indoors, but note that not all of them are created equal. A bathroom exhaust fan’s efficiency is dependent on the amount of air it can move in a given time. This is measured by the cubic feet per minute (CFM) metric, which needs to increase with the size of your bathroom.

These exhaust fans typically run for 20-30 minutes after. So if you usually shower right before bedtime and are looking to install one in the master bedroom, consider one with a lower noise level.

Combat west-facing heat ahead of time

A couple years ago, HDB announced they were working on building cooler homes by integrating insulation material into the roof panels of apartment blocks. So to our friends in HDB flats - you need not feel left out.

Until then, these tips should still come in handy for those moving into homes - condominium or HDB - with “unfavourable” facing directions. No unit is perfect in all areas but ultimately, it is our improvisation that makes a house our home.


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