Build with the Sun in Mind

Many of us consider the scorching rays of the summer sun to be an unavoidable drawback of an otherwise lovely season, especially when it comes to energy bills. However, there are relatively simple ways that you can make you home work with the sun, rather than against it. Of course, the best time to implement these plans is during the home construction phase, but that doesn't mean you need to give in to the air conditioner if your home is already standing!

One of the simplest things you can do to combat the sun's energy is to have real, working shutters (at least on the sun-facing sides of your home). By closing the shutters on the eastern, western, and southern sides of your house during the day, you can effectively prevent solar energy from entering and heating up your living space. Less heat inside means less work for the air conditioner and lower heating bills. The opposite applies in the winter, when allowing as much sunlight as possible into your home can help offset heating costs.

Perhaps the most obvious way that the sun can be harnessed for your home's benefit is through the installation of solar panels. Be sure to place them strategically in areas where they can operate most efficiently!

If you have the luxury of starting from the ground up, consider the sun when determining the future orientation of your home. Leave sunny areas for garden space, while considering which parts of your home would benefit from early vs late sun. For instance, if you enjoy sleeping in, you may not want your bedroom windows facing east, as this will allow early morning sunlight to stream into the room.

In addition to orientation, the exterior of you home can also contribute significantly to reducing your solar burden. Overhangs can shade walls exposed to full sun in the hottest part of the day, preventing absorption of heat. Similarly, facades, porches, and other buffer zones can capture heat in the winter months while blocking it during the summer.

Finally, plant deciduous trees on the southern sides of your home in order to provide precious shade to otherwise scorched areas. Not only will this reduce heating costs, but it will also create much more pleasant outdoor spaces in the summer! In the winter, the trees will lose their leaves and allow additional heat to enter your home.

Read more about this topic at our source article, "Architectural features make it easier for buildings to battle sun."