The home Dina Tersago, ex miss belgium and tv presenter, was designed to be highly energy-efficient. There’s only one thing she regrets and that’s not having decided to put in exterior sun protection right away. “Luckily, this is something you can also have fitted afterwards.”
In 2014, Dina Tersago and her partner Wim Hubrechtsen had a nearly zero-energy home built. “It’s a multi-generational home we share with my parents in law. We decided to go for a very low level of energy consumption with the highest possible level of passive cooling”, Dina remembers.
“With the choices we made at the time, we were able to keep things nice and comfy for a fairly long time. But the flip side of the coin is that, once the heat gets indoors, there’s no way of getting rid of it. The back of the house gets sunshine all day long, from early in the morning until late in the evening. Combined with the large glazed sections on the ground as well as the upper floor, and the hot summers we’ve been getting a lot of, you’re looking at a recipe for overheating.”
So what can you do about it? “With the increasingly hotter summers, people are now more likely to opt for air conditioning, which is capable of delivering a pleasant sense of comfort. But putting in air conditioning in a home without sun protection is like pouring good money after bad. It’s entirely at odds with the very philosophy of building an energy-efficient home. You need to have the air conditioning system on round the clock to cool the rooms and it uses a very substantial amount of power. Air conditioning is perfectly suited to deliver that extra cooling if and when required, but our aim was to first and foremost go all out for a structural solution: exterior sun protection. Luckily, this is something you can also have fitted afterwards.”
For their terrace, Dina and Wim went with a sun shade canopy. “This allows you to enjoy the warmth but without having the glaring sun melting your face. It’s a bit of an obsession of mine, but I attach great importance to protecting my skin and that of my children against the sun. It takes no time at all for me to come out in red blotches when I’m exposed to directly sunlight. And I’d prefer to keep those wrinkles at bay for a good while to come yet (laughs). So when someone tells me I can get the same effect as a factor 50 sun cream from a sun shade canopy, that’s music to my ears.” On the upper floor, Dina and Wim decided on surface-mounted screens, i.e. canvas protection. Dina preferred to have all exterior sun protection automatically controlled in order to prevent overheating as widely as possible. No stress and maximum comfort.” It’s no coincidence that the canopy and the screens are Harol products, Dina comments. “It’s important to me that they are a Belgian business that does its own manufacturing in Belgium. Sun protection is something you have fitted just once in your life. So you’re best advised to go for quality that will last a lifetime.”
Harol CEO Annick Draelants: “Dina and Wim’s story is by no means unique. During the summer, a lot of homes suffer the same thermos effect. The better insulated, the more powerful its effect. Once heated, there’s very little to be done to cool these homes again. The most sustainable way to keep our homes cool and healthy is by way of sun protection and roller shutters. They block out the sun before it gets the chance to make its way indoors. This is what is known as ‘natural cooling’, cooling your home the natural way. This has been Harol’s mission from the very outset. Right now and in times to come, it applies more than ever. Natural cooling by way of sun protection not only sees you raise your everyday living comfort, it also gives your home a better energy rating, not to mention greater added value should you decide to sell or let your home. Investing in sun protection is investing in comfort, sustainability and your most prized possession: your own home.”