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Building A Cool House


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This is a most interesting Topic, and the posts here are verry informative.

I will venture some sugestions too on building a cool house.In trying to consoldate the information I may repeat some thigs already said, my appologies.

In building a cool house, sight layout is a critical and 1st step.

Placing the house so it takes advantage of prevailing breezes and avoiding direct sun on "sensitive" parts of the structure.

The environment is also critical. As mentiond earlier by someone, Vegitaion providing direct shade on the house is extreemly helpfull, as is shadded areas for prevailing breeses to pass through and cool down before reaching the house.

Building shade in is also helpfull. Large eves, upper floor decks, carport/garage on sun exposed side of house,and awnings. Anything to shade the house from direct sunlight.

Reflective surfaces, or light colors, especially on the roof. are desireable.

The old post and pier method, of construction,so prevalant in Thailand, where the floor of the house is elevated to alow air flow under the house is not as efficient as slab on grade, for keeping a house cool. This typ of constrution is from the preconcrete era. Granted, if you are building on a slope or if you are building an exclusivly wood house this is the way to go. And for reasons beyond temperatures.

A couple of cautions when building slab on grade. Number one is compaction, This point cannot be over stressed . Money spent on a soils engeneer is well spent here. Two is, I never put utilities in/under the slab.Sewer being the exception. Future repairs become an expensive struggle.

The earth is a wonderfull insulator,and concrete holds teperature well. slab on grade is most definaltly the coolest floor system.

Masonary walls also hold temperatures well, Concrete, stone. CMU,etc. all will stay cooler longer. They are thicker too so you get good R factors than you will from wood, even double wall insulated.

If you are building a wood house, double wall construction is the way to go. Insulating the exterior walls.

Heat gain/loss is primarily through windows. Curtains/drapes help mittigate this.Tinted glass is another good option for reducing heat gain. As well as exteral awnings to shade windows. The windows themselves should seal well when closed so that cool air does not escape through them.

I wont belabor roof and attic issues, already well coverd in this forum except to reiterate, reflective/light colord roofs, well ventilated and insulated attics.

Tile and especially marble go along way in keeping a house cool, use it generously.

Now comes the A/C. Get an expert to help here. As an efficient system is the cheapest to opperate and maintain. Devide your living space into sections to be cooled, and seperate them with air tight doors as much as possible. The object is, not to spend money colling areas you are not using at the moment and quickly cool those areas when you want to inhabit them.

Plan your work and work your plan.

Sawadee Khap

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