Urgent Air LLC
C-39 ROC 264451 L-39 ROC 264452
Licensed ● Bonded ● Insured

Building a House to Fit Local Climate Conditions

Before the invention of central heat and air conditioning, people generally built houses that were designed to be as comfortable and durable as possible for their specific climate. In hot climates, they built overhangs to shade windows and protect from rain, high ceilings to let the hot air rise above the people, porches to sit out on when it was hot, and big windows to let in breezes. In cold climates, overhangs were smaller to let more sun shine into the house. In dry, desert areas, houses were made of masonry that would absorb heat during the day, releasing it at night.

When we started heating and cooling our homes, all those smart decisions fell by the wayside and we started building any type of house anywhere – southern cottages in the north, southwest adobe-style homes in the south, and on and on. However, appropriate roofing in Phoenix is not synonymous with appropriate roofing in Baltimore. What we are finding is that a house style in the wrong climate can lead to more energy use, and reduced comfort and durability.

For example, in the hot, rainy south, small or no overhangs let too much water hit the walls of the house, which causes premature deterioration and lets in too much sun on hot days. Big overhangs in the north don’t let enough of the sun’s heat on cold days. This illustrates that thinking about where you are when you decide what kind of house to build is an easy way to make a better, greener house that will be cheaper to operate, more comfortable, and last longer – and none if this has to cost you a dime extra. Just make the right decisions early in the process.

Here are some guidelines for climate-friendly roofing and window placement:

If you get a lot of rain where you live, design your house with overhangs and simple roof designs to keep water from backing up into the attic and keep it off the walls.

If you get a lot of snow, a steep roof will allow the snow to slide off quickly instead of building up.

In almost all climates, avoid west-facing windows – they heat up the house at the end of the day and can overheat during even cold weather. I have seen homes that need to turn on the air conditioning in the winter because too much sun comes in.

In cold climates, don’t put too many windows on the north side, especially if you get a lot of wind from that direction – they will lose a lot of heat.

Put a lot of windows on the south side of the house all climates, making sure to shade them with overhangs to keep out the heat during hot months. Put in windows that open easily, with screens if you live in a buggy area. Then open them (and turn off the AC) when the weather is nice. You don’t need to heat or air condition your house every minute of every day. Take advantage of natural heating and cooling, save money, and enjoy the day.

If you build or renovate your house to fit your local climate conditions, you can save energy, save money on maintenance, and be more comfortable year round. Why more people don’t do it is beyond me.

Tags: , , , ,

HVAC Industry News

Can I Still Install a 13 SEER Unit?

There are three key questions to ask when considering installing a 13 SEER unit. Which region you are in? When was the 13 SEER system built? Was it a heat pump or straight AC? You can still install a 13 SEER unit anywhere in the U.S. if it was manufactured before Jan. 1, 2015. If … Read More »

Emerson Climate Technologies Announces The Release Of CopelandTM Brand Products For R404A/ R507A And R134a Refrigerant Alternatives

AACHEN (GERMANY), October 15, 2014 — Emerson Climate Technologies, a business of Emerson (NYSE: EMR), announces its ongoing investment in sustainable refrigerant alternatives in anticipation of European Union rules. Both the European Union and U.S. EPA have announced plans to transition new applications away from high global warming potential refrigerants (R404A/ R507A). F-gas Regulation 517/2014 … Read More »

New Air Conditioner Standards Would Rank as Biggest Energy Saver in U.S. DOE History

Proposed Standards Would Save Businesses Billions Washington, D.C.—The Department of Energy (DOE) proposed new efficiency standards today that would slash commercial rooftop air conditioner energy use by about 30%. The proposed standards would achieve the largest national energy savings of any standard ever issued by the U.S. Department of Energy. “DOE’s new standards are a … Read More »

EPA Warns Against Use of Refrigerant Substitutes That Pose Fire and Explosion Risk

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is warning homeowners, propane manufacturers and sellers, home improvement contractors and air conditioning technicians of potential safety hazards related to the use of propane or other unapproved refrigerants in home air conditioning systems. EPA is currently investigating instances where propane has been marketed and used as a … Read More »

%d bloggers like this: