In cold, mix and moderate climates cooling comes second; heating is a more important issue, more difficult to deal with. But in hot climates, it’s the opposite.
Cooling in Cold, Mix and Mild climates
In cold and moderate climates living areas should be exposed to the winter sun, and the house should have relatively large windows, designed to maximize heat gain during the winter months - while utility areas and less used rooms should be located on the opposite side of the house. That's very important for low-energy strategies.
But cooling needs and energy savings should not not be forgotten.
Your home should also be...
- protected from the summer sun and
- designed to benefit from shade and breezes during the cooling season.
And you should also consider features like...
- landscaping and
- the position and type of windows (and their shading, and the shading of walls and roofs).
Design and Layout for Energy Improvements in Hot Climates
In hot climates, homes should be designed having natural ventilation as their primary goal, and windows and other openings should be planned accordingly. Homes should also be designed and sited to achieve high levels of sun protection.
If you are building a new home, take the opportunity to minimize or eliminate the use of air-conditioning; a very well designed home doesn't need air conditioning, or can reduce it to a minimum without sacrificing comfort.
Design tips, for energy improvements:
In hot climates, homes should be designed...
- to allow breezes to pass right through their rooms, by aligning their windows with their internal doors.
- In humid climates, consider open-plan interiors and long and narrow houses: they are the best for natural ventilation.
- The size and the location of the doors and windows (and other openings) should be properly planned: windows should have a large opening area (casement windows...) and interior doors should open fully to facilitate breezes.
- Windows and openings should be designed to facilitate ventilation and stale air exhausting.
- Properly sized overhangs and pergolas and verandas are vital for shade.
- Exterior features: consider shaded patios, pergolas and evaporative cooling features (ponds and other water features); homes should be heavily shaded.