Attention to detail, innovative techniques, and stellar communication are essential when it comes to constructing your tropical home. One important detail to consider and discuss with your Contractor, especially on Roatan, is how to keep the interior of your home at a comfortable ambient temperature without straining your AC unit. Incorporating these solar strategies into your floor plan will not only reduce your utility costs, but will also improve the interior living space for all.
What Is Solar Shading?
Solar shading strategies include elements, devices, and systems that are designed to reduce heat from the sun entering a building. Today’s homes often include wide and high windows, encouraging as much natural light to enter the room as possible. And we love that! However, the heat from the sun can easily pass through the glass, and has a hard time getting back out. This heat remains in the room, often being absorbed by other elements such as concrete walls, before being radiated back into the room. Talk about turning up the heat! This increase in temperature not only creates an uncomfortable space, but also increases the load on your air conditioning unit. This is why an effective solar shading strategy is so important!
Solar Shading Strategies
Some solar shading strategies we recommend are:
- Overhangs, Verandas, or Covered Patios: Large roof overhangs, verandas, or covered patios can all serve to protect walls and window openings from direct sunlight. This is effective on the north and south-facing walls because of the sun’s angle.
- Horizontal Window Shading: Horizontal window shading devices can take many forms, and are often found in commercial applications. In traditional tropical homes, bell-shaped hoods were often used as a form of rain protection and solar shading. Today, a deeply recessed window or raised bands could be a more contemporary and aesthetically pleasing method.
- Shutters And Screens: Shutters and screens are excellent for allowing natural ventilation as well as flexibility. For modern homes, slatted and louvred sliding or bi-fold options are used. These shutters can be open completely when the sun is not intruding into your interior, or can be closed when the sun has made its debut without sacrificing air flow.
- Trees And Vegetation: Trees, vines and other vegetation are a great way to protect your home from solar heat gain. They reduce the glare from entering your home and provide cooler areas outside. All this while permitting natural breezes to flow through!