Summer means a steady back and forth between inside and out. Here, tips for keeping your home climate controlled in the chaos. by David Eisen
Summer is here, but with it comes the constant and steady traffic from inside the house to the outside—and back again. And that can take a toll on temperature control within your home—not to mention your floors.
“In the summer, when humidity is generally higher, it’s a tough problem if you haven’t planned for it,” says Steve Ellis, the co-founder of Sarasota, FL-based MyGreenBuildings, which prides itself on green building, particularly on waterfront land. “What you want to be able to do is have the air conditioning off in the rooms that are open to the outdoor living spaces while having other sections of the home remain cool and dry. That requires insulation strategies that will allow for this—and creating zones of cooling.”
Achieving this effect can be as easy as situating the thermostat in a bedroom adjacent to the main living area that is open on both sides, then having an insulated wall between the two rooms. This option can keep the bedroom cool and dry, while the main living area becomes a kind of open-air pavilion.
Using outside elements is another way to find a comfortable setting. This is even more pronounced for waterfront properties, where wind plays a prominent role. Opening the home to take advantage of wind rolling off the water is a pleasant, cost-effective way to keep a house cool during hot days without the use of air conditioning.
“When you close up at night,” Ellis says, “open up the air-conditioned bedrooms to act as a cold-air dump. Keeping the house somewhat compartmentalized is the trick to dealing with indoor/outdoor spaces in the summertime.”
For David Montalba of Santa Monica-based Montalba Architects, much of the design aspect is influenced by location. “It depends on the climate we’re working with; for example, in California, we are much more able to push the limits of fully connected indoor/outdoor space. In colder climates, this opportunity can be planned for, but isn’t always achievable with fully opened spaces,” he says.
“Working with more sustainable best practices, such as cross ventilation and thermal mass, to retain the warmth of the sun into the evening can help achieve heightened connectedness.”
Those looking to build a new home or renovate a home on the water should take note and choose an architect who understands the subtleties and refinement needed to build in this environment.
“When designing and building a home on the water,” Ellis says, “its best to hire someone who understands the nuances of what makes living on the water so special—and knows how to make the most of the experience.”
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