Sustainable use of Radiators & Air Conditioning

Giuseppe Gillespie



Radiators are connected to a boiler via pipes throughout the walls and flooring of your home. Below are some tips to get the most out of your ‘rads’:

Keep radiators clear of large furniture blockage. Radiators need appropriate free space to work efficiently. Having them blocked by furniture such as couches, even partially, will reduce their space heating efficiency; it’s better for an entire room to be warm, rather than the back of your sofa!

Radiator covers, although superbly stylish, ultimately reduce the effectiveness of your radiators by closing them off

Over time, a buildup of air will accumulate inside radiators; this requires them to regularly be bled (a method of letting all the air out). To bleed most radiators you’ll likely need a radiator bleed key; available at most hardware shops for a couple of euro.

Bleeding radiators ensure you’re getting the most out of your heating system

Consider this; a radiator radiates heat in all directions, so a lot of that heat goes straight into the wall, which is great for the wall but not so great for poor, shivering you. Radiator Foil can be used to solve this problem. It acts as a reflective insulator, preventing the heat from passing into the wall and reflecting it back into the room. This is a cheap, easy-to-install, and effective way to cut down your home’s carbon emissions by increasing the efficiency of your heating system.

Using reflector foil will increase a radiator’s efficiency

To boldly go (pardon my split infinitive grammar pedagogues) one step further in radical radiator room roasting efficaciousness a strategic use of shelving can help redirect heat into the room, especially if the radiator is situated under a window.

Mmm Hmm

Air Conditioning

Air-con, con-air

Air conditioning units utilize an assortment of mechanical fans to heat, cool, and filtrate air. According to the Guardian: Air conditioners use more electricity than any other appliance in the home. They consume 10% of global electricity (together with electric fans) and leak potent planet-warming gases into the atmosphere[1].

Before deciding to implement air conditioning, be sure to make good use of passive cooling ~ (article on this in progress); used intelligently, this could reduce the need for air conditioning completely.

Ceiling fans are a stylish alternative to air conditioning units that use far less energy

If you do rely on the use of air conditioning here are a few tips to effectively reduce its environmental impact:

  • Seal any ducts on the unit and regularly clean/replace filters
  • Close all windows and doors of the room you want to cool; this will prevent the cool air escaping
  • Use the correct size unit for your needs; there is no reason you should use an industrial-strength air con unit to cool your kitchen
  • Use it sparingly in bursts, rather than leaving it on all day
  • Locate the unit away from radiators and other heat-generating sources


[1]: “How to make Air Conditioning Less of an environmental nightmare,” The Guardian, 03-Sep-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22-Nov-2022].

About the Author

Giuseppe Gillespie is an infrequent Irish writer often forced to write about himself in the 3rd person as he is not famous enough to merit someone else doing it for him. He has informed me (who is definitely not him) that he hopes this could change in future, as well as his fondness for ending things with a preposition, notwithstanding. For more see:

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