In my last blog I discussed how the various climates that we find in North America can influence design and how the four broad climate types we find calls for varying design techniques. The first climate that I want to discuss is the Hot Arid Climate.
The main characteristics for a hot arid climate include:
-Hot dry summer and a cold dry winter
-Very little rainfall and vegetation coverage
-High temperature difference between day and night
-Very low humidity
-Desert areas include wind and dust
The main idea in a hot arid zone is to reduce uncomfortable conditions created by the extremes of heat and dryness. Houses must remain cool in the hot summers and warm in the cold winters. During the summer, sun is the enemy. It is important to provide maximum shading of direct solar radiation during the day and flush out any stored heat during the cooler nights.
Here are some design ideas to accomplish comfort:
-Place windows to take advantage of cooling breezes in summer
-Have very small well shaded windows on the eastern and western walls
-Include extensive area of wall and windows on the north side
-Shade windows from summer sun but expose winter sun to interior of house
-Use compact floor plan with less external wall area to minimize eastern and western walls
-Maximize nighttime cooling with high level windows or vents to let out the hot air and draw in cooler air
-Utilize shaded courtyards with water features that draw the cool moist air into the house
-Use vegetation to increase shading
-Paint interior and exterior walls light colors
-For warming at night, capture and store solar energy in solid material such as a concrete floor or brick walls to release at night
By utilizing these design considerations, a more comfortable living environment can be achieved with less mechanical means and thus much less energy use. And ultimately you will arrive at a much preferred and more comfortable home.