As bushfires again approach Canberra, door and hardware specialist Howard Styles has fabricated some novel shutters in an attempt to improve the fire resistance of his family’s 1956 Monocrete cottage. 

Some 515 houses were destroyed in the Canberra bushfires of 2003 and as the cottage faces a large stand of ancient pine trees on the Western side additional defences seemed essential. The double hung timber framed windows, with 3mm annealed glass, were seen as susceptible to the heat of an approaching fire. The softwood facia boards have also been upgraded to a ‘J’  section of 0.9mm galvanised steel. There was no real science in the details however the insulating effect from the Western summer sun has made a remarkable temperature difference. 

The cottage is now 10°C cooler than the summer ambient outside air temperature without air conditioning. The perforated galvanised louvres are standard 225mm wide electrical cable-trays. Currently the arrangement is close to $100.00 per square meter.

There are also some other benefit with enhanced external daytime privacy and the adjustability allows for a variable distant view. When fully closed the perforations still provides sufficient workable light. Inside there are simple Roman blinds with an integral reflective white lining.