With temperatures that are way-above-average kicking in across the country, it appears like it’s going to be a different summer. Seems that the actual possibility of climate change, whether a portion of this planet’s natural cycle or due to human action, is something we’ll all need to deal with. The good thing is that for millennia people are designing and constructing homes that can keep us comfortable no matter how embarrassing it gets outside. So perhaps it’s time to rediscover these age-old building techniques and integrate a lot of them into our houses.
Here are a few time-tested heat-beating ideas — and a few brand new ones — to think about.
Exteriors By Chad Robert
Add shade. Glass isn’t an efficient insulator. It permits heat out during the chilly months while allowing heat in during the warm months. Providing a shading device on these regions of glass will mitigate the greenhouse effect and also go a very long way to keeping your home cooler.
Pick cosmetic roofing. We all probably learned in high school mathematics class that the color black absorbs warmth while white reflects it. This is why in the warmer climates a white or light-colored roof will repel the heat, keeping your home cooler.
Narofsky Architecture + ways2design
Like colors but durable, an overhang blocks the sun’s radiation from hitting the building right. The attractiveness of these architectural devices is that they can be designed to block sunlight while allowing winter sun into the home.
When we lived in Singapore, a location with a warm and humid climate if there ever was one, many carried an umbrella to shade themselves from the sun as they went about their everyday routine. If an umbrella can help keep a person cooler, why not put an umbrella over the whole home? It wasn’t any surprise that the owners of this iconic Umbrella House started saving 30 percent in their air conditioning costs after they restored the house’s “umbrella.”
Tommy Chambers Interiors, Inc..
Contain water and plantings. As misters keep cool those in the queue at the amusement park, a fountain, pool or other water feature will surely keep the surrounding atmosphere cooler. And plants behave as colors, blocking the sun’s rays before they reach the ground.
Frederick + Frederick Architects
Create a chimney effect. Again from high school mathematics, we all know that hot air rises. Therefore by providing a taller space surrounded by lower spaces we can create a chimney effect. The cooler air closer to the floor comes in and, as it warms up, is expelled via the top. By introducing continuous air movement and by continuously replacing warm with cool atmosphere, you’ll produce the interior of your home more comfortable.
Smith & Vansant Architects PC
An easy way to create the chimney effect is to put an operable skylight over the stairway. When open, the skylight will draw on the cooler air from the lower flooring, keeping the top floor cooler in the procedure.
Kolbe Windows & Doors
Utilize UV-blocking glass. Windows have come a very long way in the last few decades. Dual and triple glazing, low-e coating, argon fills and impact glass are a few of the attributes that many window manufacturers have integrated in their products.
You will need to be sure that you use a window which blocks the UV rays to not just cut down on heat gain but to keep your interiors from becoming bleached by the sun. So when looking at new or replacement windows, ensure that the window is assembled using the low-e coating on the suitable surface to your climate.
Phil Kean Design Group
Add mass. Building with concrete and masonry helps keep homes in warmer climates cooler. The bulk of this construction absorbs daytime warmth, releasing the heat during the night when temperatures are cooler. A superb way to accomplish this mass is to use insulated concrete form (ICF) construction, as this show home from the 2012 International Builders Show in Orlando, Florida, does.
Carson Poetzl, Inc..
Adobe construction is just another building technique which relies on adding mass. In use for thousands of years, adobe construction is a great way to keep the home cool obviously, particularly when coupled with recessed windows which are stored in the shade throughout the summer.
Increase air circulation. Operable windows, particularly those which are correctly ventilated, can continue to keep the interior nice and cool. Windows like such transom types can be left open during the night to let in the cooler night air.
Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
The atmosphere that’s lower to the floor is going to be cooler. Thus having some awning windows down low which can capture this atmosphere is going to continue to keep the house interior cooler.
Cross ventilation keeps the atmosphere from staying put and getting rancid and warm. Allowing the air to flow throughout the home keeps the interior healthier, cooler and more pleasing.
Koch Architects, Inc.. Joanne Koch
Create a cool courtyard. Courtyards are national oases, particularly with some plantings along with a water feature or 2. Perhaps add a pergola or other shading device as well to keep the area even cooler. And make sure each of the rooms that front the courtyard have large doors and windows to take advantage of the cooling effects of this area.
Don’t fight the website. Occasionally the best views will be to the west or east — the worst orientations for large expanses of glass. In such situations, designing the shading device for all that glass is crucial. Plot out the sun angles so you can really have a shading device that keeps the sexy, low sun while not obstructing the view.
More: Solar-Powered Design