The house was designed to keep out the sun in summer, and let it in in winter. The roof projects four feet at the front (south) and that works really well to shade the second floor windows.
Four the first floor there is a porch structure in front of the large living room windows. This is open to the sky and by itself is more architectural than functional. Finally towards the end of Summer I installed an awning to provide shade; this works really well and keeps most of the sun off the windows. It fits in with the general color scheme, and completes the “porch” look.
Awning and Porch
Now that Summer is over, I have taken it off again, and the porch is once again open. Sun coming into the front room in the morning really does seem to help heat the house.
Naturally people often ask if Green building costs more. As well they should. Not to beat around the bush, most of the time it does. The hard part is to work out the benfits with hard numbers, to see if the extra expense and effort is “worth” it.
The first response could be to ask another question, “more than what” ? In the case of commercial construction it is not too hard to answer that, in most cases. There is an equivalent, non-green design to which we can compare. The hypothetical “base building”, for energy calculation purposes. OK I am already getting too involved. What do you expect, I am an estimator by trade.
For home building, it is a bit harder when dealing with a one-off design, to make a true comparison. There is no doubt we spent more than we would have, had we simply been building a house to minimum code standards. On the other hand trying to make the house sustainable, and to qualify for the LEED certification, I was determined to keep the floor area down as far as possible. The house is just over 1,800 square feet, which is small for a new house in this area. Designing a more compact layout, aking every foot count, can indeed offset the extra cost of better systems, better insulation, higher quality windows, and the like.