Designing for Cold Weather Climates

Design for Temperate Climates


In this blog I would like to discuss Temperate climates and what specific design characteristics we can employ to react to the distinct conditions of this zone.


The main characteristics of the temperate climate include:


-Cool to cold winter days

-Cold winter nights

-Warm to hot summers with moderate humidity

-Generally have 4 seasons

-Does not experience the wide variations of some of the more extreme climates


A temperate climate typically includes a hot and dry season followed by a wet and warm season and then winter conditions.  This makes it a challenging climate to design in.  The goal is to keep a balance between conflicting requirements.  In the winter, you need to seek solar radiation gain and then provide shading in the summer.


Here are some design ideas:


-Orient building axis east/west to maximize south side

-Windows should be moderate in size with double glazing

-Windows should face south to collect heat during the winter, but should be shaded during the summer months

-Needs appropriate amount of thermal building mass to absorb excess heat during the day and return it to the space at night

-Plan for cooling ventilation in the summer months but block the wind in the winter

-Insulate building envelope to high standards

-Deciduous trees are beneficial for blocking sun in the summer but letting sun through in the winter


Designing in temperate zones is challenging, but by utilizing a few of these design techniques, it will greatly improve the comfort within your home and overall energy demand. 

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