Building a Home? Consider the Sun

August 2014

The sun plays an important role in the design and construction of homes. Although we often take the sun for granted, it makes a huge difference in the retention of heat inside of a home. Home designs that ignore the sun's influence typically cause homeowners several unwelcome outcomes.

Allowing for the Sun in Building Plans

If the design of a home fails to consider the sun, it could degrade some of the materials used in building the home. Untreated wood may become bleached or blackened. The sun also causes plastics to become brittle and fade, and shingles can buckle when exposed to direct southern sunlight if builders don’t properly vent a roof.

Homes can use the sun when needed and block it out when it is not desired. A large, open porch will welcome guests, and overhangs allow entertaining even during periods of sun or rain.

Any surface of a home can be repainted if the sun fades it, but shading devices such as roof overhangs, awnings or strategically planted trees can keep the paint from fading so quickly in the first place.

Using the Sun When Needed

Courtyards facing south can shelter the entryways into winter homes or year-round homes in winter climates. Doors can block the cold, west winds of winter without losing any valuable sunlight.

Untreated Materials Require More Maintenance

The skin of a home will degrade more quickly and require more maintenance if the sun hits it directly. Only stucco and rock are immune to its effects. You will need to repaint the painted surfaces more often if they stand in the glaring sun every day. Plastic surfaces will see their colors affected by the harsh rays of the sun, as well.

The sun must be considered when installing a top quality heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in your new home so that you can use the sun’s rays in a positive way. Wise incorporation of sun-friendly aspects in a new home will allow heating and air conditioning systems to operate at their most efficient levels.

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